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The Butler Did It: Grezinsky no Prince among hoops coaches

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Having to tend to an injured player in the locker room, Grazioli told his assistant coach to take Marte out of the game with four minutes left in the third quarter. The Lions led by 19 at the half and were well on their way to another league win.But something got lost in translation and Marte, who will play at the University of New Haven next year, was still in the game at the start of the fourth quarter when Grazioli reappeared from the locker room. He immediately subbed Marte out of the game and promptly apologized to Tan."I've been on the other end," Grazioli said. "Twenty years ago, we lost to August Martin, 80-5. And it's not like [Martin coach] Joel Ascher was rubbing it in or pressing. He was just playing. We were just a bad, bad team."It's not that Grazioli's act of sportsmanship is unique, it happens in basketball courts all across the city every day. Ron Naclerio regularly doesn't even dress his starting five when the Judges face lesser league competition like Townsend Harris or Thomas Edison. Star players like Francis Lewis' Vionca Murray or Christ the King's Tina Charles rarely, if ever, play a full 32-minute game.But two days before Marte's accomplishment, Murry Bergtraum's Epiphanny Prince set a new high-school record by scoring 113 points in a 137-32 victory over Brandeis. The old record was 105 points by Cheryl Miller.The Rutgers-bound senior shot an outstanding 54-of-60 from the field in a game that was decided by the end of the first quarter - Bergtraum led 44-6 after eight minutes.But Prince stayed in the game, even after a 74-11 halftime lead and a 101-21 edge after three quarters. She stayed in the game and Bergtraum continued to press against a Brandeis team that had just five players, against a Brandeis team that had a 4-10 league record, against a Brandeis team it had already beaten, 115-22.There is no disputing Prince's ability on the court. She is a phenomenal player, one of the best in the country. Her coach, though, is a disgrace. Ed Grezinsky should have known better, he's the coach, the educator, the adult. If Shep Grazioli doesn't pull Helin Marte out of games, she could score 70, 80, 90 points."I would have done things a little different," Grazioli said. "To me, the record doesn't have as much meaning. It doesn't prove anything."But Grezinsky kept Prince in the game, despite having a roster that consists of 17 players. What was his motivation? Brandeis coach Vera Springer suggested that Grezinsky was trying to prove Prince is the best player in the country, even better than Tina Charles.The only thing Grezinsky proved was that he is a joke of a coach. Perhaps Grezinsky, who remains unapologetic despite a nationwide backlash, could learn from Grazioli, Naclerio or legendary Molloy coach Jack Curran. Two years ago Curran pulled star Sundiata Gaines with 2:21 left in the fourth quarter of a 103-80 rout of McClancy. Gaines, a starter at the University of Georgia now, begged Curran to keep him in. He was five points shy of breaking Kenny Anderson's single-game record for points. But Curran sat down Gaines, who scored 52 points. "We had to get our subs in; the other team had their subs in. He can get the record against Rice or St. Raymond's or something," Curran said after the game. "When he makes his perimeter shots he's unguardable. But he missed a few (foul shots). He could have broken the record if he made his foul shots."Curran gets it.Grezinsky? He has no clue.Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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