By Dylan Butler
Joel Ascher might have been the happiest person to walk into Elmcor Saturday afternoon for the PSAL Queens Winter Classic. More so than playing in a showcase event against one of the better teams from Brooklyn in Benjamin Banneker, the Angels’ head coach was ecstatic to compete on a large court.
That’s because the larger the court, the more it fits into August Martin’s run-and-gun offense, which put on a second-half show in an 81-69 win.
“All playoff games are on bigger courts, but we don’t have the luxury of playing on a big court usually,” Ascher said. “I like to run, that’s the way the game is played.”
Ascher’s Angels had to wait until the second half to run, though, as the first half ground to a halt thanks to a plethora of fouls. The two teams combined for 35 fouls in the first half alone, which led to a constant parade to the foul line.
Martin shot 20-for-29 from the line while Banneker struggled, shooting 11-for-22 as the Angels went into the break with a 43-34 lead.
“Free throws plagued us even though we practiced free throw shooting today,” said Banneker coach Kinnya Hudson. “Every day we practice free throws, but there’s nothing like game pressure.”
August Martin (10-1) broke the game open in the third quarter as senior guard Monique Jenkins sparked a 16-4 run capped by a no-look pass to sophomore Nicole Moore, whose layup gave the Angels a 58-38 lead.
“I felt nervous in the first quarter, but we stayed in control,” Jenkins said. “I told them in the locker room that we have to have fun and play defense and the offense will come.”
Jenkins and teammate Vennesa Ross finished with a game-high 20 points, while Moore, a 6-foot versatile forward who was usually Jenkins’ main target in the post, had 17 points and 14 rebounds.
“Compared to last year, we’re much better,” Moore said. “We have more support and we all work hard in practice. That’s why we’ve done so well now.”
Adams falls to FDA. All Frederick Douglass freshman Sharlyn Harper thought in the final seconds against John Adams was to make up for her mistake. With 10 seconds left and the Lady Lions’ leading 62-60, Harper turned the ball over on a midcourt inbound.
Adams’ senior guard Nicola Moore raced for the loose ball and dished to Aisha Cardoza for the potential game-tying layup.
“It terrified me when I saw [Harper] throw the ball in the opposing team’s territory,” said Frederick Douglass coach Roelethia Willis. “I was very frightened.”
But Harper raced back and blocked Cardoza’s attempt from behind with 2.4 seconds left in the Queens Winter Classic opener.
“I just saw the girl open and I thought I had to get back and make the save,” said Harper, who had a huge fourth quarter and finished with 15 points.
The loss spoiled a spectacular performance by Spartans junior Dinorah Diaz, who scored 18 of her game-high 28 points in a first half that saw Adams (8-8) take a 34-33 lead.
The Spartans led 58-54 with 2:25 left, but FDA (9-1) rallied on Harper’s corner jumper, a layup by Yada Beemer and a steal and layup by Priscilla Edwards (26 points).
“We got in a little bit of foul trouble and when Nicola is in foul trouble, we’re in trouble,” Adams coach Tom Glass said. “When she went out of the game, they pressed us and we were in trouble without her.”
St. Peter’s 69, Francis Lewis 56. Tara Driscoll led host St. Peter’s (10-0) with a career-high 17 points, Nkolisa Anosike had 14 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots, and Jen Danio added 11 points off the bench Sunday on Staten Island. Jasmin Lawrence scored 12 points and Dawn Coleman added 10 for previously undefeated Francis Lewis (12-1).
Lehman 48, Townsend Harris 33. Danielle Norman led Lehman (12-4) with 17 points and 17 rebounds in the Bronx Winter Classic Sunday at Lehman College. Shanay Freeman scored 11 of Townsend Harris’ 12 first-half points and finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and four steals. The Hawks, who were outrebounded 52-25, dropped to 8-6.
John Adams 60, Jamaica 32. Diaz had 15 points and 14 boards, and Tamisha Glenn added 15 points and 13 boards for the Spartans.
Forest Hills 47, Richmond Hill 46. Katie Gilbert netted 20 points, including a free throw with 36 seconds left in overtime to give Forest Hills (12-3) a non-league win Friday. Maria Velasquez, who notched her 1,000th point in a game against Grover Cleveland early last week, scored 13 points for Richmond Hill (8-7).
Townsend Harris 54, Bayside 36. Katie Driscoll and Andi Strauss paced the Hawks with 15 points apiece.
Cardozo 63, Jamaica 45. Britni Bolden had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Leah Lipschitz added 17 points and eight boards, and Marissa Flagg added 15 points and seven assists for Cardozo (9-3, 6-3 Queens A).
Springfield Gardens 53, Flushing 21. Diana Frank had a season-high 31 points for Springfield (4-9) while Flushing was led by Aliah Davis’ 17 points.
John Bowne 64, Thomas Edison 16. Nashaun Burrell had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Tasheyna Brown had 14 points, five assists and five steals, and Chantal Biscette added 10 points and 15 rebounds for Bowne (12-1, 10-0 Queens II-B).
Van Buren 63, Robert F. Wagner 46. Delise Johnson had 24 points and Jeneva Kelly added 15 points for Van Buren (15-4, 9-1 Queens III-B).
Bayside 66, Long Island City 15. Shakia Woods had 18 points and Gayle Silverstein added 12 points for Bayside (14-1, 10-0 Queens III-B).
Franklin K. Lane 41, Springfield Gardens 28. Marian Sena scored 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, while Joelina Diaz had eight points and 11 rebounds for Lane (5-10, 3-6 Queens I-B).
Newcomers 37, Grover Cleveland 34. Armela Dosti had 20 points and 10 steals, and Maria Rios scored 14 points and grabbed 10 boards for Newcomers (4-10, 4-7 Queens II-B).
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at [email protected] or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.