MSGVarsity.com will take a look back every Thursday by reviewing the recently completed 2014-15 high school campaign. In the first week of the ‘Year in Review’, we recap the girls’ basketball season that too place in New York City.
ONE TO REMEMBER: CHRIST THE KING
Christ the King knew there were changes coming after the 2013-14 season with the graduating of a number of players that included McDonald’s All-American Sierra Calhoun and Siena bound Kollyns Scarbrough.
The Lady Royals was 21-8 by relying on a young core of juniors to provide leadership, scoring and intangibles and it turned out to be the right formula to add title hardware to the school’s trophy cabinet.
Dominique Toussaint and Sydney Zambrotta formed a high scoring partnership on the outside and junior forward Kaela Kinder became a presence with her athletic play inside the paint. After going through a slow December, the Lady Royals emerged in January with a non-league home win over South Shore and handed Archbishop Molloy their first loss of the season.
The team captured the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I regular season title and Kinder would score 19 points and 16 rebounds to help the Royals win its second consecutive diocesan title over Molloy. Christ the King would pull away in the fourth quarter with Zambrotta scoring 21 of her 32 points in the second half to defeat Molloy, 62-55, in the CHSAA Class AA catholic state final on March 14.
The season would be topped off with a thrilling comeback win over South Shore in the Class AA State Federations semifinals before ultimately losing 66-52 to Long Island Lutheran in the championship game.
Corinn Baggs and Sam Spadaro, Staten Island Academy:
The Tigers had already earned the automatic bid to reach the State Federation Class B Tournament but the program could not have reached new heights without their top two scorers.
Spadaro, a senior guard, averaged 15 points a game this season and became a 1,000-point scorer in a 71-52 Tigers win over Susquehanna Valley High School in the state semifinals. Baggs, a 5-10 forward who accepted a scholarship offer from nearby Wagner College, also shattered the 1,000-point scorer and averaged 16.4 points per game as a junior. The two stars combined for 9 of the team’s initial 11 points in the state final as Staten Island Academy beat Mount St. Mary to win their first state title.
Brianna Fraser, South Shore: The 6-foot-3 center was already one of the most talented and athletic players in New York City but the Maryland bound senior took the next step to help the Lady Vikings win its first ever PSAL Class AA championship.
The McDonald’s All-American selection averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks and saved her best for big games. She scored a game high 22 points in her team’s 42-30 city title win over Grand Street Campus and broke a New York State Federation Class AA record by scoring 46 points in a state semifinal loss to Christ the King in Albany.
Shanique Edwards, Grand Street Campus: The final piece of the puzzle came for the Wolves when the 6-foot-3 athletic starting center transferred from Nazareth last fall. Grand Street received 15 points and 11 rebounds from Edwards, who helped them reach the Class AA city championship game by defeating Murry Bergtraum, 52-47, in the PSAL semifinals at Lehman College.
Ashanae McLaughlin, Murry Bergtraum: The do-it all senior guard finished off an explosive four-year career by guiding the Lady Blazers to the PSAL Class AA semifinals with a team high 22 points and 5 assists per game. The Seton Hall bound guard earned two city championships and lead this season’s team to the Class AA Bronx/Manhattan/Queens AA division title.
FOR THE RECORD
Colonie High School’s Michelle Blot held the New York State Federation girls basketball when she scored 43 points in 2001. South Shore center Brianna Fraser would shatter that mark fourteen years later on March 27, 2015.
Fraser ended a storied four-year career with the Lady Vikings by posting her career high 46 points in the State Federation Class AA girls semifinal against Christ the King. The 6-foot-3 center was unstoppable for the first three quarters by scoring inside the paint and using her 10-15 foot jumper to deadly effect.
She would at one point score 18 points in a row during the third quarter to give South Shore a lead for most of the contest. But Fraser’s historical output wasn’t enough as Christ the King posted a fourth quarter comeback to pull off a 71-67 win to end Fraser’s and South Shore’s 2014-15 season.
FIVE AND FLY:
Archbishop Molloy caught the attention of New York City girls basketball last December by posting signature wins over two nationally ranked programs. McClure scored 19 points and 11 rebounds as the Stanners defeated three-time Class AA public school champions Ossining in an impressive 69-63 road win on December 17. Molloy captured beat eventual State Federation Class AA champions Long Island Lutheran, 55-45, at the Francis Lewis HoopsQueens Winter Showcase.
One of the wildest games this season took place in the State Federation Class AA semifinal as South Shore and Christ the King battled in an emotional back and forth game. The Royals overcame an 46-point effort from Fraser with a clutch performance in the fourth quarter to record a 71-67 victory. Toussaint scored 14 of her 28 points in the last eight minutes of regulation and Zambrotta ended with 26 points.
Staten Island Academy would have a good regular season and upended top teams like PSAL title contender Murry Bergtraum along the way. They had to wait five weeks to compete in the State Federation Class B Tournament but the eventual outcome was well worth the wait. Baggs scored a team high 21 points as Tigers earned the school’s first state title in a 50-33 victory over Mount St. Mary’s on March 29 at the SEFCU Arena in Albany.
McKee/Staten Island Tech finished off a second half explosion to beat Evander Childs, 67-46, to win the PSAL Class A final on March 21 at Baruch College. Sophomore Clare Mitchell earned Most Valuable Player honors with 35 points and senior captain Alaina Lynch scored 14 points and earned her first title after being on the losing side against Bergtraum in the 2012. Class AA final.
Nazareth saved its best for last with a surge in the final month of the season to end the 2014-15 season on a high note. Despite an under .500 season at 11-19, the Lady Kingsmen captured the CHSAA Class A catholic state championship and went on to beat Williamsville South, 64-54, in the State Federation Class A girls championship on March 29 at the SEFCU Arena in Albany. Niya Johnson, Erykah Russell and Alexis Sykes starred down the stretch and will all return next season to compete in the tough CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I standings.