By Jerry Del Priore
After completed a highly successful hoops campaign, in which the Lady Gators captured the PSAL Manhattan “Class A” divisional title with a 18-0 record (22-2 overall) and earning the top seed in the conference, head coach Michael Lloyd said his squad’s primed to go deep into the post-season.
“I feel very confident,” Lloyd said. “I feel that this group we have, we have the pieces to play the last game (in the finals).”
Last season, Lab Museum suffered an early 67-64 exit to Staten Island’s Tottenville in the second round of the playoffs. It’s something that Lloyd said the Lady Gators have learned from and are firing on all cylinders at just the right time of year.
“I think we learned from last year’s experience, the early playoff loss. I thought, coming into the year, we had the potential to do really well. And we’re starting to come together. Things are clicking, and we’re gelling.”
A big reason for Lloyd’s confidence in his team is the solid contributions he’s received from his five first-year players, including the four freshmen on the squad (Beatrice Casey, Nina Hennessey, Anna Kitch and Princess Lam) and his budding standout sophomore guard Kayla Bridgeman (12.95 ppg).
Plus, the return of the team’s strong core: sophomore Dasha Goodman, junior Delilah Kalle, and seniors Rianne John and Jamie Feinman, along with role players junior Wei Jing Zhang and sophomore Melanie Earle.
In league games, Kalle led the club with 15.35 ppg in 14 contests, as Lloyd had her rest her slightly bum knee down the stretch. In overall tilts (league and non-league), however, Goodman paced the team in scoring.
On the boards, John recorded a team-high with 8.95 rpg in 18 league contests while the athletic Bridgeman picked up 7.4 rpg in the same amount played.
Kalle, who manned the point guard position for a good portion of the campaign, was tops in assists with 5.4 pg in conference play.
Assistant coach Catherine Harris believes the decided factor in improvement over last year’s squad is the more cohesive bond Lab Museum has formed.
“I think this team right now, we kind of reached our potential, and came together more as team this year,” Harris explained. “Last year, we had a lot of players that could score, but as a group, as a team, I think this team has gelled. The comradery and boding we have this year gives us a whole different look.”
The Lady Gators await the winners of the Martin L. King-Adlai Stevenson’s game Tuesday at MLK, to determine their second-round post-season opponent, with the game taking place at Lab Museum. Start time is between 4:30-5:00 p.m.