Wagner Girls’ Hoops Advances to Finals with Win Over Francis Lewis; Will Face South Shore

The second-seeded Wagner girls’ basketball team weathered a late-game Francis Lewis strong offensive push to hold on for the 53-42 victory in the PSAL Class “AA” semifinals Sunday at the City College of New York.

The Lady Patriots’ Cynthia Hernedez sank two technical foul shots to slice the Lady Falcons’ lead to 38-36 with 5:45 to go in the game.

But Wagner junior Nicole Melious and senior Shanelle Smith spurred a 6-0 run to increase its advantage to 44-36 with 3:47 remaining in the contest.

No. 3 Francis Lewis refused to quit, though, as juniors Sheila Da Silva and Wanhua Peng cut the deficit to 44-40 with 2:52 left in the tilt.

In what was a game-changing turn-of-events, a Lady Patriots’ player missed an easy lay-up, and then Melios nailed one from behind the arc to give the Lady Falcons a seven-point lead with 1:57 to go in the contest.

Senior Audrey Bonoan banged home a three-pointer of her own to make it a 50-40 tilt with 64 ticks left on the clock. Melious went to the charity stripe, hitting three of four to ice the game down the stretch.

Wagner raced out to a 20-12 advantage in the first quarter and went up 31-18 at the half. But the Lady Patriots the outscored the Lady Falcons, 14-7, in the third period to pull the score to 38-32 in favor of the Lady Falcons.

However, Francis Lewis could not pull out the wind in the end.

Melious. who now has a league-best 1019 points, led all scorers with 19, and grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out six assists while Smith had 16 points. Sophomore Samantha Harrell dropped in eight points and Bonoan contributed eight points and six helpers in the win.

Top-seeded South Shore ran roughshod over No. 5 New Dorp, with a 92-44 win in the second girls’ semifinal contest of the day.

With the victory, the Lady Falcons will face the powerhouse Shore Lady Vikings in the Girls’ “AA” Championship at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn on Thursday at 5:00 p.m.

— Jerry Del Priore

Photo: From Dan Melious


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