By Dylan Butler
Playing just one playoff game in 31 days, it took the Francis Lewis girls’ basketball team a long time to shake off the rust in a 58-47 win over seventh-seeded Frederick Douglass Academy in the PSAL Class A quarterfinals Saturday at Elmcor.
It took junior center Jessica Fuller even longer than that.
After scoring just five points in a first half that saw Fuller barely touch the ball, a half that saw No. 2 Francis Lewis (25-4) lead by just six at the break, the 6-foot-4 junior dominated in the second half.
“We started off a little slow in the beginning,” Fuller said. “But once we saw they were serious about winning this game, we stepped our game up.”
Fuller, who is being recruited by a bevy of Division I schools, had 14 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocks and scored six straight points in a 10-0 fourth-quarter run to put the game away after FDA (24-4) got within 40-35 on a pair of free throws by Priscilla Edwards.
The senior guard, who scored more than 1,500 points for her career, led the Lady Lions with 17 points before fouling out in the final minute.
“We had three weeks off but we just kept practicing, played hard and had to remember the next time we lose a game we’re out, our season is over,” Fuller said. “We had to keep that in our heads.”
With James Madison-bound Jasmin Lawrence struggling — she finished with just six points, four rebounds and four assists — sophomore Diatiema Hill picked up the slack, especially in the second half.
The converted point guard scored 12 points, including seven straight midway through the third quarter, as Francis Lewis extended its lead to 39-28 with 2:19 left.
“I think we were so anxious to play after only playing once in a month that I think we just didn’t execute,” Francis Lewis coach Mike Eisenberg said.
Dawn Coleman had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Alaina Davis came off the bench to score eight points and grab 15 rebounds for Francis Lewis, which advances to the semifinals Saturday at St. John’s. The Patriots will face sixth-seeded Midwood (20-9), which upset No. 3 John F. Kennedy, 61-60, at Elmcor Saturday.
The two teams met on the same Alumni Hall court Dec. 30 with the Patriots cruising to a 30-point win. It is the same margin of victory Lewis enjoyed against Curtis in the regular season before the Patriots were upset at St. John’s in last year’s semifinals.
A coincidence? Eisenberg hopes so.
“They’re playing better,” he said of Midwood, coached by Eisenberg’s close friend Artie LaGreca, “as was Curtis playing better last year coming into the semifinal game.”
Murry Bergtraum 84, Cardozo 43. Epiphany Prince had 27 points for the top-seeded and five-time defending city champions Saturday at Elmcor, while Leah Lipschitz had 14 points and Britni Bolden added 11 for No. 8 Cardozo (18-10). Bergtraum (26-1) advances to the semifinals to face No. 4 Lincoln Saturday at St. John’s University.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.