By Marc Raimondi
Tatiana Wilson always feels like she has to be aggressive, like she has to assert herself on offense. That didn’t necessarily change for the Francis Lewis junior when stars Kelly Robinson and Sabrina Jeridore were held out of the game early due to disciplinary reasons.
“I just knew I had to start a little earlier,” Wilson said.
She started and she finished. The 5-foot-7 guard had 11 first-half points and seven more in the fourth quarter to lead Lewis to a 52-41 win against John F. Kennedy in the PSAL Tip-Off Classic Sunday at Long Island University. When Kennedy was within 44-39, Wilson’s scoop layup gave her team some cushion with 1:21 left in the game.
“She just comes out of nowhere,” Patriots senior forward Ayana Duncanson said. “She finishes all her layups, she’s a threat from the outside %u2026 I was proud of her today.”
Duncanson (12 points) and Wilson (18) needed big games without UMass-bound point guard Robinson and Iona-bound, 6-foot-3 center Jeridore for stretches. Both were late getting to LIU and Coach Steve Tsai made an example of them. He sat Jeridore, who was later than Robinson, for the entire first half and didn’t bring Robinson in until there was 1:20 left in the first quarter.
“I’m preaching to these girls that we have to hold each other accountable,” Tsai said.
Wilson said she was “shocked” when Tsai sat both girls — especially Robinson (10 points), the team’s point guard.
“I feel like everybody is treated equally,” Wilson said. “Even the best players sit down when they come late.”
Added Duncanson: “I respected the decision he made. They owe it to their teammates to get here on time. I think it was a really wise decision.”
Lewis (3-0), ranked No. 10 in New York City and No. 4 in the PSAL by the Post, had a point guard by committee in the first quarter that finished with Kennedy ahead, 13-12. Shenita Urquhart started, Theodora Alexandrou saw some time and regular starters Jasmine Davis and Wilson also brought the ball up. Tsai was happy about how they held down the fort.
“That made a big difference,” he said.
So did Duncanson. She had six of her 12 points in the first quarter and the New Haven-bound, 5-foot-11 forward just seemed more comfortable on offense. Duncanson’s footwork is improved since last year and she was more aggressive driving to the basket and looking for her shot.
“I’m a lot less stressed this year,” Duncanson said, referring to transferring into the school last year and dealing with the pressure of her new environment. “Now I’m a lot more comfortable with everything.”
Kennedy (2-1) looked better, too, after a clunker of a win in its season opener against Truman. The Knights are essentially starting four sophomores and Coach O’Neil Glenn, who was apoplectic Monday, was encouraged.
“We’ll grow,” he said.
Sophomore forward Deaisia Acklin had 12 points, Sarah Vann had nine points and Chelsea Custodio added eight for the Post’s eighth-ranked team in the PSAL. Kennedy could get sophomore Dmitria Abbott back earlier than expected from a leg injury, which is another positive development.
The Knights did what they were supposed to for stretches, making it sloppy and a defensive struggle. Kennedy was within 43-39 on a Vann basket with 1:48 left in the game before Acklin was whistled for a technical foul for breaking the plane with her hands on a Lewis inbounds play.
In a sense, Kennedy is a team Lewis wants to emulate. Tsai is adamant about being more defensive-minded this season. He called last year’s defense “really, really poor.”
“We need to be more scrappy,” Tsai said. “I like the fact that we’d play a more physical team.”
Reach Marc Raimondi at email@example.com.