Cleveland struggles but holds off Bowne, 51-41

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Grover Cleveland girls’ varsity basketball head coach Jack Ciano took home a win and probably a few more gray hairs from the PSAL Queens Winter Classic Sunday afternoon at Elmcor as his Indians shook off a lackluster start to defeat the John Bowne Lady Wildcats, 51-41.

Play was sloppy and it showed on the scoreboard. Sophomore Nashaun Burrell scored the game’s first two points and added four more minutes later to give the Lady Wildcats a 7-6 lead after one period. Cleveland senior Jennifer Barenboim, who struggled from the outside, countered with four points on drives to the hoop in a low scoring first.

Ciano frowned and shouted instructions to his players with each turnover and missed layup in the first two quarters. Unfortunately for him, there were many.

Katrina Brown hit a long three on the last shot of the half as Cleveland mustered just enough offense for a 15-9 halftime lead

“We won and that’s the bottom line,” Ciano agreed. “But were are better than what we showed today.”

The pace of the game barely picked up in the third, as both teams settled down and started to score some baskets. Senior Stefanie Lacku hit a short shot to open the second half and converted two free throws minutes later to make the score 20-11. Burrell, who scored 21 points, ripped off eight straight points to prevent the Lady Wildcats from falling out of the game.

Cleveland turned to its seniors in crunch time. Barenboim, who scored 12 of her 18 points from the free throw line, found a way to score down the stretch.

Shannon Gonzalez helped the cause with a three-point shot with 5:09 remaining to open the lead to 39-29. Gonzalez made a pretty assist on a basket by Andrea Stewart and converted two free throws in the final minutes. Cleveland finished the game on a 10-3 run

“A win is a win,” Barenboim agreed. “I’ve learned that much in my nine years of playing basketball.”

Unlike Cleveland, the Lady Wildcats rely mostly on freshmen and sophomores. Some of the mental mistakes and missed shots were a sign of their inexperience and may fade as they play teams such as Cleveland. Coach Bruce Bitterman knows his team is finding its way.

“This is a learning experience,” the Bowne coach said. “If you play better competition you become better yourself.”

In a battle of Queens A rivals, the experienced August Martin Angels refused to step aside for the young and talented Cardozo Lady Judges. The Angels absorbed an early blow and pulled away in the middle of the game to defeat the Lady Judges, 53-47.

Cardozo opened the game on the run, scoring fast break points to take a 12-10 lead after one quarter. They increased the lead to 16-11 with 6:00 left in the second when sophomore Denise Fath drove to the hoop for a bucket.

Samantha Glover responded with eight points for the Angels in the first half, including a three-pointer early in the second to spark a 10-5 run. August Martin closed the first half with a 24-21 lead and owned the third, outscoring the Lady Judges 17-9, to put the game away.

“We’re going to have to work hard this year to win games,” Angels coach Joel Ascher said.

Sophomores Britni Bolden, who finished with 17 points, and Leah Lipschitz were active early on, but tailed off later in the game.

Francis Lewis 66, August Martin 51. Jasmin Lawrence scored 12 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter as Lewis (14-1, 8-0 Queens A) rallied to outscore Martin (3-4 Queens A) 29-7 in the fourth quarter. Teresa Rozza added 16 points and nine assists for the Patriots.

Cardozo 39, Bryant 30. Christina Jones had 14 points and five assists and Britni Bolden added 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead Cardozo (13-3, 6-2 Queens A).

Townsend Harris 42, Jamaica 39. Shanay Freeman had 16 points, including a key three-point play with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter, and Kristina Casper added eight points to lead Townsend Harris (11-2, 6-2 Queens A),

Newcomers 47, RFK 45. Laura Burlacu had 24 points, 17 rebounds and eight steals and scored on a layup with 30 seconds left to lift Newcomers (2-9, 1-6 Queens II-B). Armela Dosti added eight points and five assists for the Lions while RFK was led by Michelle Wallace’s 28 points.

Lane 54, Far Rockaway 31. Joelina Diaz had 17 points and nine rebounds and Iris Cartagena added 14 points and four assists for Lane (6-9, 4-4 Queens I-B). Blanca Rojas led Far Rockaway with 19 points.

John Adams 57, Beach Channel 42. Francesca Romano had 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and seven steals and Dinorah Diaz chipped in 14 points, 14 rebounds and five assists for John Adams (13-2, 7-0 Queens I-B).

Newcomers 58, Academy of American Studies 38. Burlacu led Newcomers with 16 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists while Teressa Roizman paced American Studies with 18 points in a non-league game.

Jamaica 47, Bayside 30. Erica Smith had 13 points and LeTanya Grady added 11 for Jamaica (9-4) in a non-leaguer.

Springfield Gardens 62, Lane 42. Diana Frank led Springfield (8-5, 5-2 Queens I-B) with 26 points. Lane dropped to 2-4 in Queens I-B.

Bowne 43, Robert F. Kennedy 35. Nashaun Burrell scored 24 points and Michelle Wallace added 19 for the Wildcats.

Edison 52, Flushing 30. Nichole Wright scored a game-high 22 points and Jillian DeCoursey chipped in 21 points and seven steals to lead Edison (4-2 Queens II-B).

Francis Lewis 50, Midwood 41. Jasmin Lawrence had 10 points and five steals and Alaina Davis added nine points and 10 boards for the Patriots in a non-league game.

Newtown 64, Robert F. Wagner 37. Lasheena Brown had 21 points and 31 rebounds and Monica Pahl added 17 points for Newtown (9-3, 5-1 Queens III-B).

— Dylan Butler contributed to this story

Reach contributing writer Adam Martini by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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