Down to ‘elite 8’ squads

By Simon Chen

As the field of 32 shrinks down to 16, invitations to the “Elite 8” will only be handed out to the city’s top eight girls’ teams as all remaining teams will vie for them this week in the round of 16. Last season’s Cinderella stories, Jefferson and Midwood, come into this season’s “dance” as perennial powerhouses contending for the city title. But they will have to get past two strong squads, Grand Street Campus and Banneker, respectively to advance to the ranks of the elite in the AA Division. #17 Boys & Girls Vs. – Leading the lady Kangaroos into battle is the duo of forward Adjua Adan David and center/forward Michelle Ffolkes. David, averaging 12.14 points per game, led the team with 170 total points for the season, but managed to score only two points in the February 13, 35-23 win over Lehman in the first round. As for the division’s leading rebounder, Ffolkes, the 6’1” versatile star was able snag away 16 boards in the first round victory. Boys & Girls will need all of Ffolkes, David, and the rest of the starting five to make through the playoffs, as their first contest was against #1 Murry Bergtraum on February 27 (after this paper’s deadline). There is absolutely no doubt that facing the seven-time PSAL Girls City Champions, Murry Bergtraum, is a highly tall task to ask of Boys & Girls – but they will need a collective team outburst to leap past the city’s top team.. #9 Madison – The lady Knights have hit a snag of late, winning one in their final four games of the season. But during the slump, Madison’s core of Jamecia Foresythe, Samantha Stanfield, and Sashana Bucknor has still kept it together to finish strong. During the streak, the three stars averaged a little less than 40 combined points per contest. As for their defense, they will need to have a strong presence against a high-powered Lewis squad that averages 61 points per game. On February 27 (after this paper went to press), the Knights faced #8 Francis Lewis. In a previous match up on December 7, the Madison lady Knights were soundly defeated 64-46, but strong showings by Bucknor and Lewis may have turned things in their favor. #12 Lincoln, #5 South Shore- During the regular season, these two borough rivals faced off twice with the lady Vikes victorious on both ends. For the lady ‘Splitters, they will need the same exact intensity that they had in the first round when they destroyed Norman Thomas, 96-17, with all five of their starters and a role player, all dipping into double figures. In the first matchup, on December 12, Lincoln’s Demi Quintana and Nefertiti Tilton combined to swish in 43 of the team’s 53 points, as almost 80 percent of the offense came from the explosive duo. In the second regular season meeting, Lincoln was held in check with no one scoring any more than six points. For Lincoln to be successful in their February 27 matchup, the explosive duo needed to be on target. #6 Midwood, #11 Banneker – In a battle of division rivals, the Midwood lady Hornets had a third and final game against Banneker on February 27. In both regular contests, Midwood has out battle the lady Warriors to go 2-0 against the Academy. On November 28 in the low-scoring season opener, Banneker held every lady Hornet to under eight points as Warriors’ Kunnuh Wisseh led all scorers with 10 points but was edged 34-26. In the first game after the Christmas break, on January 4, the Midwood offense figured out the defense and had two players- forward Jessica Previlion and guard Victoria Story- go into double digits as both combined for 26 points en route to a 53-40 victory. The formula for a win for either team is to have this game enter the high-50s and low-60s, and then it is anyone’s game. #3 Jefferson, #14 Grand Street Campus- The “AA” Division, Group 2 champions are on the prowl for a second consecutive class “A” division championship. After capturing the ladies’ “A” Division crown, last season, they forward to the task in challenging the “AA” Division’s elite— but they have to get past Grand Street Campus this Friday to do just that. In two regular season games between the division rivals, the lady Waves have beaten Grand Street mightily, with the margin of victory at 37 points. In the first meeting on November 30, Jefferson had three of the starting five drill into double digits with G Alicia Cropper scoring a game- and team-high 22 points. In the second meeting on January 9, Cropper didn’t disappoint as she dropped another 23 en route to a 76-45 win over the lady Wolves. For Grand Street to have remote shot, they need to stop Cropper and the rest of the starting five and will need to ride the ship of Simone Victor, who has been able to swish-in 41 combined points against the lady Waves. As for Jefferson, the winning move is giving the ball to Cropper and let her do the work. It already has gotten them this far, so why not for the tri-fecter?

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