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Fatigued Lewis falls short against Moore

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Up five with less than three minutes left in the third quarter, Francis Lewis was in the driver’s seat. Little did the Patriots know that the car was about to run out of gas.

Lewis could muster just one field goal until there was 42 seconds left and ended up falling 49-44 to Moore Catholic at the PSAL/John F. Kennedy Challenge girls’ basketball event Saturday night at the InTech Academy.

“I think us being tired makes us make poor decisions,” Lewis junior guard Jasmine Davis said. “We maybe need to condition more or something. For some reason, when everyone is out of breath, a little part of our brains shuts off.”

Lewis junior guard Jazmine Hamlet banked in a three-pointer as the shot clock sounded and then finished a layup in the lane to give the Patriots (11-6) a 30-25 lead with 2:43 left in the third. But Moore (13-2) finished the frame on a 7-0 run. Two Theo Alexandrou free throws tied things up for Lewis with 7:42 left in the third quarter, but the Mavericks went on a 12-2 run that just about put things out of reach.

“It partly has to do with our depth, but we just weren’t aggressive,” Pats Coach Steve Tsai said. “That’s something we have to work on.”

Lewis fought back and actually had a chance to tie down 47-44 with 17 seconds left, but Hamlet pulled up for a jumper inside the three-point line — something Tsai partially took the blame for. He said he should have called a timeout and reset the offense rather than letting his players freelance.

Still, he was happy his girls not only battled back but hung in all game with Moore, which is ranked No. 7 in the city by the New York Post.

“Last year, we got blown out by 30 points in some games,” Tsai said. “It’s not like that this year. Most people say we’re not as talented, we have no size. But we fight.”

A win would have given Lewis a tremendous case for earning the No. 3 seed in the PSAL Class AA playoffs if the rest of the season goes as expected. John F. Kennedy lost Saturday to Long Island Lutheran, a team Lewis has already beaten. Moore beat Kennedy in December also.

“That’s what we were pushing for,” Davis said. “I still think we should be ahead of them definitely.”

Alexandrou had 16 points, Davis had 10 and Hamlet added nine for Lewis, which was within 24-22 at the half before a good third quarter got the Patriots the lead briefly. Like against Mary Louis and South Shore, Francis Lewis played well for stretches, but couldn’t finish.

“One of these games, we gotta get over the hump,” Tsai said. “We were right there with one of the top teams.”

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