Poll-favorite leads Lewis

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The ball is in Jasmine Davis’ hands in crunch time for Francis Lewis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the senior guard is scoring the go-ahead or tying basket.

“If it came down to the last shot, I feel very confident in Jasmine taking it,” Patriots Coach Steve Tsai said. “But a lot of times, teams will key in on her.”

Davis was voted the city’s top clutch girls’ basketball performer in an nypost.com poll last week. She received 8,009 votes, good enough for 48.73 percent of the 16,437 cast. Horace Mann’s Madison Gordon was second with 5,863 votes (35.67 percent) and Nazareth’s Darius Faulk was a distant third with 796 votes (4.84 percent).

“I feel when the game is on the line or my team and I are struggling, I have to be a leader,” Davis said, “whether it be making a big shot or creating a key play.”

Davis is the defacto point guard for Francis Lewis. She is the team’s primary facilitator. But she also guards all different positions on defense and, at a strong 5-foot-8, is one of the Patriots’ top rebounders.

“Jasmine is so important,” Tsai said. “She sacrifices a lot in terms of her shooting. She has to do so much. She’s responsible for being a playmaker. She has to rebound against bigger girls.”

She’s a pretty big reason why No. 6 Lewis upset No. 3 Truman in the PSAL Class AA quarterfinals last weekend. She had 11 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in that game.

“We’re very excited and happy to have made it this far again,” Davis said. “We have a lot of respect for [Bergtaum] Coach [Ed] Grezinsky and know the Bergtraum girls are as hungry as we are. We plan to go into the [semi-finals] game as if it were our last because it very well could be. We’ve been through a lot this season and we’re ready to go far.”

Francis Lewis has not been to the championship game at Madison Square Garden since 2005-06. It would also be Tsai’s first trip if Lewis pulled off a second straight upset. The Patriots did beat Bergtraum in both teams’ league finale.

When the season ends, Davis figures to have plenty of college options. Tsai said she could go to any Division II program in the country. And she’s also received interest from Stony Brook, Albany, Pepperdine and East Carolina. Her sister, Janine, was a star point guard at St. Michael Academy under Coach Apache Paschall, where she won a New York State Federation title, and now plays at Siena.

“Growing up being in elementary and junior high school, many girls at my age at the time weren’t exposed to that type of basketball,” Davis said. “I learned at an early age that basketball is more than a game.”

Her mother, Celia, played basketball at Clara Barton and coaches her and many Francis Lewis players on the Exodus Lady Lions travel team.

The sport has been part of her life for so long, Davis doesn’t let things get to her in those late-game moments.

“I usually save all the nervousness for before the game,” she said, “but once I hit the court it’s a whole different story.”

Posted 12:57 am, March 15, 2012
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