By Jerry Del Priore
Canarsie head coach Keiya Smith isn’t exactly sure what type of basketball team she’ll have this year, given the fact she has a group comprised of mostly young players. While the regular season hasn’t tipped off yet, Smith is happy with the performance of the youthful Lady Chiefs at the Lab Museum Thanksgiving Tourney at Lab Museum United High School last weekend.
Canarsie split the two tilts in the competition, losing to St. Vincent Ferrer (Manhattan), 47-39, Saturday night, and beating Medgar Evers College Preparatory, 50-39, Friday in Manhattan.
In Saturday’s contest, sophomore Destenee Bailey led the Lady Chiefs with 12 points while junior center Chrishanta Hunt and sophomore forward Destiny Drummond contributed with nine and eight points, respectively, in the losing effort.
In Friday’s game, which they won, the Lady Chiefs jumped out to a 10-0 lead with 4:44 to go in the first quarter. The Lady Cougars cut the deficit to 12-6 with 1:29 remaining in the period, but Canarsie added five quick points to close out the quarter ahead, 17-6.
Both teams went back and forth to begin the second period until the Lady Chiefs pulled away, punctuated by a three-pointer from Bailey for a 25-15 advantage with .50 seconds left in the half.
Canarsie went into the locker room in front by a score of 25-17. But MECP slowly chipped away at the lead in the third period, narrowing the gap to 33-31 on a buzzer-beater to close out the third quarter.
The Lady Cougars tied the affair at 33-33 15 seconds into the fourth period. But the Lady Chiefs retook the lead, 35-33, ten seconds later, only for MECP to knot the game again. However, Canarsie went on a 12-0 run to push the score to 47-35 with 2:31 remaining in the tilt.
By then, the Lady Chiefs had done more than enough damage to secure the victory.
Though Canarsie is on the short side of experience and will be a work in progress as the season moves along, Smith feels the team will make waves in the Brooklyn A East II Conference, with qualifying for the playoffs as a realistic possibility.
“We’re young, need a lot of work, but I think they’ll come around,” Smith said. “We’ll definitely going to contend in our conference, and we’re hopeful for the playoffs.”
As far as scoring and playmaking goes, Smith said, “Bailey and Drummond, that’s going to be the difference, with Chrishanta Hunt, if she shows up every game, that will be the difference, too.”
But Smith believes senior Kemisha Frederick will be the team’s X Factor, providing the experience the Lady Chiefs will need during crunch time because she’s battle-tested.
“She’s our glue because she has the experience,” the longtime coach said. “She knows what it feels like to win, she knows what it feels like to go through those losses. She’s been here for a while.”
Drummond led the charge for Canarsie with 21 points, with Bailey and Hunt adding 16 and seven in the victory.
The Lady Chiefs begin the regular PSAL campaign on Tuesday, December 6th at 4:30 p.m. against host Wingate Educational Campus.