Young stars lead Friars over Cougars
West Islip, NY – It was a battle of two powerhouse girls basketball teams on the court at St. John the Baptist High School on Wednesday, but for the Friars it was more than just a CHSAA showdown with one of the better teams in the division, it was a glimpse into the future.
Sophomores Chastity Taylor scored a game-high 17 points and Tyla Parham had a career-high 16 as St. Anthony’s (8-2) was able to top the perennial power SJB, 56-34. The win for the Friars was the second over the Cougars in less than a month, and should prove to the rest of the CHSAA how powerful they truly are.
Taylor scored 5 points in the third quarter en route to her stellar 17 point, 7-rebound effort. The 5’10” guard sparked the Friars, who held just an 8 point lead heading into the second half, to outscore the Cougars 15-5 in the quarter and 27-13 in the second half.
St. Anthony’s came into the contest ranked number 5 on MSG Varsity’s Tri-State Top 20, however it took a while for the Friars to get on the board. The game started scoreless for the first 2:30, but after Head Coach Ken Parham’s team got their first basket, a lead they would never relinquish, they immediately caught fire. In a stretch of less than three minutes, the Friars jumped out to an 11-2 lead, and held a 14-9 advantage into the second quarter after SJB’s junior guard Aliyah Smith had a buzzer-beating runner.
Though the second quarter was where Parham would start to take over. The daughter of the head coach scored seven of her team’s 15 points in the quarter, but that wasn’t all she was doing for the Friars.
The tough-as-nails 5’3” point guard used ball skill and quick footwork to beat her defender, bust into the lane, and lay-in an easy bucket multiple times in the first half. However, she liked showing off her passing game as well. When she wasn’t able to beat her mark, she would draw the defense inside, then kick out to an open teammate who could drain a basket such as Shannon White and Jennifer Sixsmith who finished with 7 and 5 points respectively. Parham’s unselfishness showed up in the score sheet as she finished with nine assists in the game.
When the outside jump shooters for St. Anthony’s weren’t able to knock down shots, who was there to clean up? That would be star forward Symone Kelly. The 6’2” forward heading to Siena in the fall hogged the boards in tune of 19 rebounds.
Although, that was not the only important factor that Kelly would contribute to her team’s success. Her stellar defense along with the rest of her squad held one of St. John’s most dynamic players, Anastasia Williams, to only 8 points in the game.
Despite a solid effort from Brianna Thomas’ 10 points in the game, St. John the Baptist was not able to overcome the big third quarter by the Friars and fell 56-34.
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