Mike Eisenberg was about as pleased as he could be as he walked into the Francis Lewis girls basketball teams locker room at halftime of the PSAL Class A championship game.
And who could blame the Patriots coach? His team trailed five-time defending champion and heavy favorite Murry Bergtraum by just three points at the break.
But then Bergtraum scored 12 of the first 14 points of the second half in a dominating 25-9 third quarter en route to a 68-55 victory March 17 at Madison Square Garden.
For the Lady Blazers, ranked No. 3 in the country, it was a sixth straight city title, while second-seeded Francis Lewis fell in the title game for a third time in four years and fourth time since 1997.
We did absolutely everything we needed to do in the first half, Eisenberg said. We were down by three points but we could have been up by three. We were right where we needed to be.
Led by game MVP Epiphanny Prince, who finished with a game-high 24 points after scoring just six in the first half, Bergtraum (28-1) took over the game in the third quarter. The Lady Blazers, who shot just 25 percent in the first half, scored 32 points off Francis Lewis 25 turnovers, many a result of their stifling full court press.
We came out flat in the first half, Bergtraum coach Ed Grezinsky said. We came back to our old-fashioned in-your-face defense. Thats what got us here and thats what won it for us today.
With 5-foot-10 Whitney Toone out after spraining an ankle in the semifinals, Bergtraum struggled with Francis Lewis sizable frontcourt.
Alaina Davis had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Jessica Fuller added 11 points and 10 rebounds for Francis Lewis (26-5), which led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.
I think we had the best chance to win this time, Davis said. But we played soft and they came out on top.
In her final high school game, James Madison-bound Jasmin Lawrence had 15 points for Francis Lewis, while Shannon Bobbit had 13 points and Erica Morrow and Kisha Stokes added 12 points apiece for Bergtraum, which will take on Christ the King in the state Federation Class AA semifinals Friday in Glens Falls.
I was frustrated but I knew we were going to win, Bobbit said. We didnt come all this way to lose to Francis Lewis. That wasnt going to happen.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2004 Community News Group
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