Franny Lew’s run for second straight title cut short

By Stephen Zitolo

Francis Lewis won the city championship last year over South Shore and a shot at a berth to their second straight city title game was in sight, but this time South Shore was a roadblock to its goal

Fourth-seeded Francis Lewis narrowly led No. 1 South Shore most of the afternoon, but a late Vikings run was too much for the Patriots to handle as they fell short 60-54 in the PSAL Class AA girls’ basketball semifinals at Lehman College Saturday.

“We just weren’t playing well together,” Francis Lewis Coach Steve Tsai said. “We didn’t make really good decisions out there. Give credit to South Shore. They played better than us. But I thought, especially in the second half, we just did too much individual stuff.”

Early on neither Francis Lewis nor South Shore could grab any offensive momentum as they traded baskets in the first quarter. Lewis (19-7) led 11-10 going into the second quarter. The Patriots’ offense found its rhythm midway through the frame. Lewis, looking like the team that won it all last year, went on an 8-0 run to get some breathing with a 27-19 lead. They would outscore South Shore 20-15 in the quarter to lead 31-25 at halftime. South Shore (22-4) was able to claw its way back into the game despite Lewis’ going ahead by double digits in the third quarter at 37-27. The Vikings went on a 10-2 run to end the quarter and pull within 39-37.

“This game could’ve gone either way, but we beat ourselves, ” Francis Lewis senior guard Robyn Francis said.

In the fourth quarter Lewis was able to narrowly stay ahead. They were doing just enough to keep the score in their favor, but in final minutes of the game South Shore’s McDonald’s All-American and senior forward Brianna Fraser took over and led her team’s comeback. Fraser’s size was too much to combat. She scored 10 of her game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter. South Shore outscored Lewis 23-15 in the frame and ended the Patriots’ hopes of repeating.

“We did what we tend to do when we are bad,” Tsai said. “We try to go one on five, one on three, and go inside on Fraser when we’re much smaller. We just got to be smarter and move the ball.”

Taiyah Brisco led Francis Lewis with 14 points and junior guard Sierra Green had 12. The Patriots, who were inconsistent all season, felt they didn’t help their cause again.

“It all comes down to mistakes,” Brisco said. “We committed too many turnovers and missed too many free throws. Some of our decisions weren’t smart.”