Richmond Hill girls cut down Forest Hills, 48-31

By Dylan Butler

Helen Marte remembers the result, even if she got the opponent wrong.

“Last year was way tougher because there was a crowd and the people took away our concentration,” she said. “We lost to Bryant.”

Actually it was Grady that beat the Richmond Hill girls’ basketball team last year in the first round of the PSAL ‘B’ playoffs, but that was one of the few mistakes Marte made Feb. 11 in the Lady Lions’ 48-31 first-round win over Forest Hills.

In the friendly confines of her home gym, the sophomore guard scored a game-high 24 points and had 11 rebounds and seven assists as No. 9 Richmond Hill (19-4) advances to the second round to face sixth-seeded South Shore Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

In addition to scoring at will, Marte did a great job of getting her teammates involved with precise passing.

“For being such a young kid, she sees the court so well,” Richmond Hill coach Shep Grazioli said of Marte. “She has tremendous vision.”

Desperate for an answer against Marte, Forest Hills coach Marc Zaretsky went to a variety of zone defenses but Marte shed each at will.

“She’s one of the most talented (players in the ‘B’ division) and she’s a very smart player,” Zaretsky said of Marte. “Like a chess player, I saw her thinking two or three moves ahead.”

After scoring the first seven points of the game, Richmond Hill went on a 13-2 run late in the second half to take a commanding 28-17 lead. The Lady Lions then struggled in the third quarter, but No. 22 Forest Hills (14-11) could not capitalize.

The Rangers did not score one field goal and had just three points — on free throws by Felicia Gillen and Albana Gega (12 points) — and trailed 34-22 heading into the fourth quarter.

“We flattened up and that’s an important quarter to establish yourself for a run at the end,” Zaretsky said. “The shots weren’t going.”

Natasha Simon had seven points and Nia Harrison, who averages 16 points per game, had just two points for Richmond Hill.

“Most of the girls who were on the team last year were so psyched to get into the playoffs and then we got knocked out in the first round,” Grazioli said. “What I liked about today was that they didn’t quit. Offensively we were off, but defensively the girls played excellent.”

And now that they are in the second round, the way Marte sees it, Richmond Hill will have a chance to put its name on the girls’ basketball map.

“If we can get past the second or third round,” she said, “I guess we’ll probably get more recognition and more people will notice how we play.”

John Bowne 45, Far Rockaway 43. Gizette Knight had 10 points and 15 rebounds and hit three of four free throws in the final minute to seal the game for No. 7 Bowne (22-3), which advances to face 10th-seeded Van Buren in a second-round game Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Beach Channel 61, Richard Green 19. Katreem Palmer had 25 points and 21 rebounds, Gina Giles had 14 points, and Ola Soetan added 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists for No. 2 Beach Channel (20-2), which faces 15th-seeded Renaissance in a second-round game Tuesday.

Van Buren 59, Wings Academy 44. Jennaer Brown had 21 points and Delise Johnson added 18 points for No. 10 Van Buren (20-5) in a first-round game last Thursday.

New Utrecht 64, Long Island City 53. Felicia Bishop had 17 points and Catherine Drakakis added 16 points for No. 19 New Utrecht (15-4) in an upset of 14th-seeded LIC Feb. 11.

Renaissance 48, Transit Tech 37. Danielle Tharrington had 20 points, and Theresa Howard added eight points and nine assists for No. 15 Renaissance (14-6) Feb. 11.

PSAL ‘A’ first round

Cardozo 66, Stuyvesant 37. Marissa Flagg had 11 points and five assists, and Shakeena Halsey added 10 points and four assists for No. 8 Cardozo (18-9), which takes on No. 9 Sheepshead Bay Feb. 25 at Lehman College.

Townsend Harris 70, Tottenville 46. Shanay Freeman had 25 points and 14 rebounds, Katie Driscoll had 19 points and 10 assists, and Kathy Dubowski added 14 points for No. 11 Townsend Harris (17-8), which faces sixth-seeded Midwood in a second-round game Feb. 27 at Elmcor.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

More from Around New York