By Joseph Staszewski
Repeating past mistakes caught up to Francis Lewis in its most important game to date.
Patriots coach Steve Tsai believes his team has been getting by on its talent in the majority of its games. Their lack of attention to detail and letting themselves get swept up into South Shore’s style of play led to a disappointing 64-44 loss in PSAL Class AA girls’ basketball Jan. 8.
“The way we have been kind of nonchalant with things, even with our wins, we haven’t been playing that well,” Tsai said. “I don’t think there is a sense of urgency. Hopefully, today this opens up their eyes.”
He watched his team get lazy on the boards and allow Vikings center Selena Philoxy to score 21 points and grab 17 rebounds. Except for a small run in the first and second quarters his team played fast and shot fast, which fed into the up-tempo style of South Shore (10-1, 8-0).
“We just let them impose their will on us, whether it was their transition or dominating us with their transition,” Tsai said. “We just felt like they were going to let us stay in the game and everything.”
After a sloppy start, Lewis used an 8-1 run to tie the score at 13-13 on a hoop by Dominique Williams with 7:00 to play in the second quarter. South Shore, the defending city champion, responded with a 14-0 spurt over the second and third quarters. It gave the Vikings a 35-17 lead with 6:32 left in the third, and they never looked back.
“Making stupid turnovers going up and down, up and down that means we are rushing,” senior guard Taliyah Brisco said. “We are playing their game. We need to play our game and slow the pace down.”
Francis Lewis (9-2, 8-1) was unable to respond because it settled for quick shots and was unable to find consistent offense with star guard Sierra Green being guarded in a box-and-1 defense by Destiny Philoxy (15 points, six rebounds). Dominique Williams scored 18 points to lead Francis Lewis. Green and Brisco each chipped in 12.
“Sierra can’t do it all by herself,” Brisco said. “We have to help her.”
When the Patriots did attempt to clamp down on defense and rally, Selena Philoxy converted a 3-point play late in the shot clock to put her team up 40-24 with 4:02 remaining in the third.
The loss is Lewis’ first in league play, with games against top teams like Truman and Grand Street still to go. The team knows it needs to start clicking consistently if it is going to finish strong.
“Hopefully this is a wake-up call for us,” Tsai said. “Sometimes that is the great thing about having it in the earlier season. We still have half a season left.”