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The young Francis Lewis girls’ basketball team played like veterans when it mattered. The Patriots’ starting lineup doesn’t have a single upper classmen in it, but they beat Bronx’s John F. Kennedy like a senior squad.
“I’m very proud with a young group they didn’t let down,” Lewis Coach Steve Tsai said. “They fought back.”
The Knights made their run to end the third quarter and took their first lead. Lewis saved its spurt for the fourth. The Patriots held Kennedy to just four points in the final frame to turn a seven-point deficit into a 53-44 season opening home win in PSAL Bronx/Manhattan/Queens Class AA girls’ basketball Nov. 21. Lewis used a 15-0 run sparked by freshman Sierra Green to regain the lead for good. She scored a game-high 17 points and connected on three three-pointers
“It hyped me up because we took the lead,” said Green of her hot shooting.
She had eight straight points, including consecutive trey to begin the decisive run early in the fourth quarter. She got help from there from sophomore Chi La Bady and Taliyah Brisco, who added a three-pointer of her own. Lewis also began to turn Kennedy over. The Knights’ 40-35 lead after three became a 50-42 Lewis advantage, with Green as the catalyst.
“I kind of expected that out of her,” Patriots sophomore Robyn Francis said of Green.
Lewis’ roster has just one junior and one senior on it. Just three players remain from last season’s semifinal club that lost Jasmine Davis, Jazmine Hamlet and Tyese Purvis. They have been a talented young nucleus, which does lack size. Tsai said they already have chemistry, as five of his players have played together for the Positive Direction travel program.
“It makes me feel like I’m safe on the court,” Green said. “I know who I could depend on.”
Dominique Williams scored eight points, Sabrina Gacevic had seven and Bady added six for France Lewis. Amely Del Rosario paced Kennedy with 15 points and Zakiya Mason dropped in 14.
Despite the Patriots’ strong finish, there were signs of youth. There was a slow start and too many turnovers for Tsai’s liking. The fifth-year coach feels he can mold this group, which is still learning his system after about 10 total practices. Tsai made sure to point out Green’s hot spurt in the fourth came off of teammates finding her open.
“I think once we start figuring things out each of the girls will be much better,” he said.
Green is already off to a pretty good start and gained plenty of confidence.
“It makes me feel good about myself,” Greene said. “We are ready for the next game.”
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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