By Joseph Staszewski
Francis Lewis was its own worst enemy if you ask Chi La Bady. The Patriots played hard, executed on defense, but never got shots to consistently drop, especially at the free throw line.
“I thought we were in a flow,” Bady said of the team’s offense. “I thought we played actually really well. If we would have made our free throws, it would have been a whole lot different.”
Instead the Patriots suffered a 53-42 loss to Long Island Lutheran in the state Federation Class AA girls’ basketball semifinals at the Times Union Center in Albany Friday night. Lewis shot 22.9 percent from the field and 17 of 31 from the free throw line. The misses from the charity stripe kept it from ever building serious offensive momentum in what was most of the players’ first trip to the tournament.
“It’s all new to us,” sophomore guard Sierra Green said. “We were just trying to get comfortable and our shots weren’t falling. It’s just one of those games.”
The Patriots did get back into the contest in the second half after trailing 27-18 early in the third quarter. They pulled within 31-29 with 1:56 to go in the frame. A jumper by Dominique Williams, who scored eight points, and a top-of-the-key trey by Green got Lewis to within 36-34 early in the fourth quarter. With 5:46 to go in the game, the Patriots came within three with a score of 40-37 after a Bady trey, but in the minutes afterward, they weren’t able to close in again. Bady led Lewis with 11 points and Green had nine points and five rebounds. Chelsea Robinson added eight points and seven boards.
“We cut down the lead and were right in the game,” Lewis Coach Steve Tsai said.
The Patriots (24-4) proceeded to go scoreless over the next 3:22 and watched LuHi (22-2) extend its lead to 46-37 with two free throws by Queens native and Michigan-bound junior Lauren “Boogie” Brozoski (14 points). Katie Lavelle added 14 points for the Crusaders.
The defeat leaves Lewis hungry to get back to the state tournament next year as only one Patriot player – center Robinson – is graduating this year.
“It’s a great experience,” Bady said “At least we made it this far. We can possibly come this far again.”