By Joseph Staszewski
Going forward, it’s about finishing what’s started for Mary Louis. The Hilltoppers were on the verge multiple times of breaking open their game against Francis Lewis Sunday, but consistency and a killer instinct haven’t been traits exhibited in the early season by TMLA.
“I’m trying to get them to build that ability that when you have a 14-point lead to make it a 16-point lead, start putting people away instead of letting them hang around and get back into games,” Mary Louis girls’ basketball Coach Kevin White said. “We haven’t developed that yet.”
The Hilltoppers finally did secure the win 53-42 over the Patriots at the Francis Lewis HoopsQueens Winter Ball Sunday afternoon, snapping a string of two straight losses to the Fresh Meadows school. George Mason-bound guard Karin Robinson scored 19 points, Reana Mohamed had 14 and Jasmine Nwajei added 12. TMLA (6-1) got contributions up and down the roster during a decisive, 16-0 run in the third quarter.
“We haven’t had all five clicking at the same time,” White said.
The Hilltoppers built a 25-18 lead when Brianna Harris fed Mohamed with 2:50 left in the second quarter. Robinson was the igniter with scintillating drives and TMLA executed its press. But then one of the lulls occurred. The Patriots (6-3) ended the first half on a 10-0 run, mostly at the free throw line, and took a 28-25 advantage into the break as Theo Alexandrou buried a three-pointer along the right side. Tyese Purvis led Lewis with 13 points and Jasmine Davis added 12.
“It was the rollercoaster again,” Mohamed said. “We came out hard and we got comfortable and we let up again.”
The foot was back on the pedal to start the third quarter. After Purvis opened it with a layup, Mary Louis scored its next eight points in the paint — four apiece from Robinson and Harris. Mohamed slashed to the basket for two, then banked in a three-pointer and fed to Nwajei to put the Hilltoppers up 41-32 with 57 seconds left in the third. On the other end, TMLA forced Lewis to take jump shots and cleaned up the boards.
“The second half, when everyone helped, it made it a lot easier than the first half and a lot more points were scored,” Robinson said.
The ups and downs were something Mary Louis talked about after a 77-61 win over Bishop Kearney Dec. 15. Friday night in a lopsided loss against nationally ranked Nazareth, the Hilltoppers couldn’t sustain the effort they put forth in the first quarter. Despite feeling they could have played better, a bounce-back victory was exactly what they were looking for.
“It was about a win,” Robinson said. “It was about getting ourselves back on the right track from the Nazareth game, picking ourselves back up.”