By Brandon Mauk
With its biggest piece still on the mend, it took a total team effort for Francis Lewis to grind out an important victory.
It got no points and limited minutes from senior star Sierra Green because of an ankle injury. Lewis got enough from just about everyone else to knock off Grand Street 43-42 in PSAL Class AA girls’ basketball Tuesday.. The victory should ensure Lewis in the No. 2 in the upcoming city playoffs.
Taliyah Brisco and Sabrina Clement led the Patriots with 10 points each and three other Patriots had six. Lewis needed everything, as Green was still recovering from the injury she sustained a few weeks ago.
“It was an awesome win for us because of our seeding,” Clement said. “Sierra is our main shooter, so the fact that she was gone, we all had to step up. We all had to do something for the team.”
Brisco had seven points in the second half, including two free throws that put Francis Lewis up by one with 11 seconds left.
“I was really nervous shooting those free throws, because I wasn’t hot during the game,” Brisco said. “I missed a lot of shots, we all missed a lot of shots. But at the end of the day, it’s down to the last play.”
The shots were decisive, as Lewis forced an airballed three-point attempt from Grand Street’s Shanice Graves in the final seconds to escape with the win.
Francis Lewis (13-1) jumped out to a 13-6 lead early in the second quarter. Despite their disadvantage against a bigger frontcourt, the Patriots pressured Grand Street (9-3) and forced it into turnovers and missed shots inside the paint. Grand Street was able to counter throughout by getting second chance opportunities
Nalae Crosland and Clement paced Francis Lewis early, with 11 combined points in the first two quarters. Clement made 5-of-6 free throws in the half. Lewis led 19-16 at the break despite making just six field goals.
“I think we’re still trying to grind it out a little bit without Sierra,” Lewis coach Steve Tsai said. “We have to try to guard a little bit better and do little things.”
Kaisha Lucky, who had 19 points, hit a pair of critical threes down the stretch as the Wolves’ lone offensive threat.
The fourth quarter was a series of missed opportunities for both teams. Clement missed a wide-open layup attempt in the closing minutes that would have put Lewis up by two scores. With 41 seconds left, Asianae Johnson put Grand Street up by one and was fouled
“We just looked at the prize and said we needed to win this game,” Clement said.
Johnson missed the free throw for the potential three-point play, and it opened the door for Brisco at the line to win it.
“Instead of looking back on what we did wrong, we moved forward,” Brisco said. “And we kept hustling.”