Jane Walsh is a dead-eye shooter. But usually her long-range marksmanship is isolated to practice and practice alone.
"We've said, 'Just wear your practice jersey under your regular jersey,'" said Andree De Leon, Walsh's teammate on the Francis Lewis girls' basketball team.
It wouldn't have mattered what Walsh was wearing Wednesday afternoon. The junior knocked down five three-pointers in the Patriots' torrid first half and Lewis led by 34 points at halftime in an eventual 76-55 win over Queens AA rival August Martin in Fresh Meadows.
"It felt good, because my shot has been off all season," Walsh said.
Walsh, who struggled with an ankle injury last season and was still trying to find her rhythm earlier this year, finished with 15 points and the Patriots hit nine threes before halftime to take a 53-18 lead into the break. Their press led to numerous August Martin turnovers and their ball movement against the Falcons' zone got them countless open shots. But the ball still has to go in - shooting has been one of Lewis' weaknesses this season.
"I could be John Wooden, but if you don't make shots it doesn't mean anything," coach Mike Eisenberg said.
Francis Lewis (6-1 Queens AA) fell to August Martin (5-4) in overtime, 63-60, in both teams' league opener Nov. 28. That loss, only the first time in six years Martin has beaten Lewis, was certainly a source of motivation and the Patriots showed it right away.
"We just came out like we're still Francis Lewis," said senior guard Sylvia Davis, who had 20 points, including six three-pointers, with 11 assists. "We still have a very good reputation."
The Patriots were in danger of losing their reputation as Queens' best PSAL girls' basketball team, but probably snatched it back against the Falcons - not just because they won the game, but the way they won it. Francis Lewis dominated from start to finish and, despite a late push led by Martin's Tinamarie Sasser (18 points), was never really challenged.
De Leon scored 14 points and senior Margaret Elenis added 12 for Francis Lewis. Junior Patrice Lewis led August Martin with 21 points and nine rebounds and junior Krystina Agard chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds, also.
The Patriots now have back-to-back tough road games: Friday at Benjamin Banneker and Monday at South Shore. It was only less than a month ago that they struggled mightily scoring the ball in an ugly 46-29 loss to McKee/Staten Island Tech in the Francis Lewis-Burt Beagle Holiday Classic. Davis and De Leon were a combined 1-of-22 from the field.
"I think shooting is contagious," Eisenberg said. "We've had some games where we shot horrible."
Perhaps it was Walsh's run that rubbed off. The 5-foot-7 guard had made only 10 three-pointers in league games her freshman and sophomore years combined.
"It was crazy and I think we could have done even better," Elenis said. "I guess soon we're all gonna be shooting threes."
But some Martin players were less than amused. Lewis took her team - and even herself - to task after the embarrassing loss.
"This is what happens when people don't come to practice - myself included," Lewis said. "I'm very upset at myself and us as a team. We didn't play hard."
Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at mraimondi@
©2008 Community News Group
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