By Jerry Del Priore
The top-seeded Lab Museum United girls hoops team played with the No. 3 Lady Golden Knights throughout the first half, trailing by just two points, 22-20, going in the locker room.
But the third quarter is where things fell apart for the Lady Gators, as they only scored two points, to put them in a 38-22 hole. From there, Madison cruised to a 59-40 victory and the PSAL ‘A’ Girls Basketball Championship Saturday at Baruch College in Manhattan.
Lab Museum had trouble with the Lady Golden Knights’ size advantage, which, head coach Michael Lloyd said, altered its shots, caused an offensive rebounding disadvantage, and often had its opponent at the foul line.
“We struggled making shots, and they got a lot of offensive rebounds,” Lloyd explained. “We got killed on the boards. So, we knew that coming in, so we knew we had to stop and defend that. And they got a lot of points off of free throws. So, that was a tough combination (to overcome)—making free throws, offensive rebounds and missing our shots. I think that was the key to the game.”
Madison added to its lead with four points early in the fourth period, to make it 43-22. But freshman guard Nina Hennessy drained a three-pointer to inch the Lady Gators a bit closer.
The Golden Knights followed with a bucket of their own, while junior guard Delilah Kalle scored four straight points to narrow the gap at 45-30 with 4:26 remaining in the tilt. But every time Lab Museum battled back, Madison responded to keep the game out of reach.
While the Lady Gators fell short of their ultimate goal of a title, Lloyd and the rest of the coaching staff said they have no reason to hang their heads.
With the graduation of seniors Rianne John and Jamie Feinman, though hard to replace, the fourth-year coach said Lab Museum will regroup for next season and be one of the top squads in the A conference.
“I know we’re losing two seniors, but those are two big pieces of the puzzle,” Lloyd told BrooklynSportsWorld.com. “They bring a lot of intangibles. Those are our two locker room girls. We’re going to miss them on and off the court. You do not replace a Rianne John or Jamie Feinman. But we’ll be all right. We’ll still be one of the top programs (in the A division).”
Lady Golden Knights junior center Ketsia Athias took home the game’s Most Valuable Player award, while Lady Gators Kalle and junior guard Wei Jing Zang captured Sportsmanship and Outstanding Student accolades, respectively.