Jael Pena had a terrific postseason, helping lead the Christ the King girls' basketball team to the state Federation Class A title. But despite drawing interest from a number of Division I and Division II schools, the senior guard from Harlem still has not found her right fit.
The University of Maryland-Baltimore County and New Hampshire have offered scholarships and Providence and Mount St. Mary's are a possibility, as well. But Pena is hoping for something else to pop up. Although playing her high-school career with the AAU Libery Belles, she has enlisted the help of Apache Paschall, who runs the Exodus organization. Pena, whose sister Gina has played with Exodus for two years, is playing in the Rose Classic with the Golden Girls, a team of high school seniors from all over the city and Long Island coached by Lauren Best, an Exodus coach and Paschall's assistant at St. Michael Academy.
Pena isn't entirely satisfied with the help she has gotten from Christ the King coach Bob Mackey and Liberty Belles coach Jill Cook in trying to find a college.
"I feel like they didn't make it a priority, like, 'Let's make sure Jael gets a school,'" Pena said after the Golden Girls beat No Limit Sunday at JHS 113 in Brooklyn.
"We made it a priority," he said. "There's no question. I can't make schools recruit her...She has a number of Division II schools that would love to sign her. Maybe she's not a Division I player, I don't know."
Storm coming. St. Michael Academy senior and Queens Village native Elon Sidney, who is also playing with the Golden Girls, committed to St. John's last month.
"It was where I wanted to go since I was 10," Sidney said.
She said the proximity to home was a major factor in the decision. St. John's is also recruiting Sidney's younger sister, St. Michael's junior Jelleah "Everyone's recruiting J.J.," Elon said but Elon isn't trying to sway her sibling's decision. Their youngest sister, Briana, is a freshman at St. Michael's and also a highly touted prospect.
"I'm not gonna force them to do anything," Elon said.
Buzzing close to mark. Mary Louis junior Amanda (Buzz) Burakoski had 20 points and six three-pointers for Positive Direction in a loss Sunday to the NY Gazelles. The St. John's-bound guard led a team made up of players from the Positive Direction AAU squad and the NYC Heat, which was coached by Mary Louis assistant Lynda Day. Burakoski was three off the Rose Classic single-game record for three-pointers (nine).
Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at mraimondi@
©2008 Community News Group
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