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Patroits triumph in unity

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Jasmine Davis had the ball at the free throw line with the clock winding down. Francis Lewis was up just two points with under a minute remaining in the game. All of a sudden, Tyese Purvis cut to the basket on the baseline.

“I didn’t know whether to shoot it or pass it,” Davis said. “But I saw her right there under the basket and I just dipped it into her.”

Purvis made the layup, got fouled and converted the three-point play. The sequence was the perfect example of unselfishness from Francis Lewis in a 51-46 win over Banneker in PSAL Class AA girls’ basketball Dec. 12 in Fort Greene.

“We shared the ball more,” Purvis said. “We looked for each other more. In our system, when we look for each other more, everyone is open in the right spots. There’s wide-open shots.”

Her layup wasn’t necessarily wide open, but she went up strong and put it in while getting hit with 23.6 seconds left. That would be the last basket of the game for either team. Previously, Banneker superstar Africa Williams pulled her team within 46-44, but Jazmine Hamlet knocked down an 18-foot jumper with 1:01 left to give Lewis (3-2, 3-1 ‘AA’) some breathing room.

“It’s not just about winning the game,” Lewis Coach Steve Tsai said. “We have to get better. This is a good sign. It’s nothing to celebrate yet, but I think it’s progress.”

Lewis was still smarting from an embarrassing loss to Kellenberg (L.I.) in which it trailed 33-15 at halftime. That performance was a far cry from the ones put in by last year’s team, which advanced to the PSAL Class AA semifinals. The Patriots were more like that team against Banneker (4-1, 4-1 ‘AA’), which already owns a win against 13-time defending city champion Murry Bergtraum.

The way Lewis moved the ball, especially late in the game, was a sight to behold against Banneker’s zone. It’s not quite Pete Carril’s Princeton offense, but the Patriots’ motion set is difficult to defend when they are unselfish.

“They were moving [the ball] and we weren’t rotating correctly,” Williams said. “They were going backdoor and we weren’t reading the defense.”

Tsai was happy with how things went for the most part on that end of the floor, despite many missed chances from 8 feet and in. On defense, he wasn’t as pleased. Williams dropped in 30 points and Diara Adger added 11 points. Banneker senior point guard Jenipher “JayAre” Rodriguez played through painful kidney stones — a recurring problem for her — in the second half.

“I told our team that they pass the ball well,” Banneker Coach Jonathan Anderson said. “What you have to do is in the zone is keep your hands up and you’ll get a deflection. We just fell apart.”

This victory was a step in the right direction against a good team before the schedule gets more difficult.

“We are better than last year,” Davis said. “We just have to actually play.”

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