Orange Wave Hands Lady Vikings First Loss, 46-45
By Jerry Del Priore
The South Shore High School girls varsity basketball team entered 2008 undefeated at 8-0 in the PSAL. But the Lady Vikings knew they would have to crank it up a notch in order to stay unblemished, as they faced a talented Thomas Jefferson squad, who had only lost one league game this season.
Although the Lady Vikings fought hard, they let a nine-point lead slip away, and lost, 46-45, to the Thomas Jefferson at home on Saturday.
South Shore (8-1) took a 12-11 edge in the first quarter, and increased its margin to 27-18 at the end of the first half.
However, a 19-6 third period outburst gave Thomas Jefferson a 37-33 advantage over the Lady Vikings.
South Shore tied the game at 41-41 with 3.33 left in the fourth quarter, and took a four- point lead (45-41) on a bucket by junior guard Baytania Newman with 2:42 left in the game. But a missed foul shot, which plagued the Lady Vikings all day long, kept Thomas Jefferson within striking distance.
The Lady Orange Wave (9-1) proceeded to reclaim the lead at 46-45 on a successful three-pointer with 1:57 remaining in the contest.
South Shore had its chances to make a comeback late in the game. But freshman guard Jasmine Odom muffed a pass, turning the ball back over to Thomas Jefferson.
However, the Lady Vikings stayed the course and kept the opposition from scoring, giving them an opportunity to win with 1.7 seconds left in the contest. But Thomas Jefferson's smothering defense kept the Lady Vikings from getting off a shot, as time ran out on the clock, handing the team its first loss of the season.
Odom and Newman scored 13 points apiece, and junior forward Valerie Patterson chipped in with 8 for the Lady Vikings.
Although disappointed with the result of the contest, head coach Anwar Gladden believes the loss will be an important lesson and a true test of his squad's resilience.
"I talk to my kids all the time. Not just about basketball, but about different things in life," Gladden said after the game. "And you don't judge someone's character when they're on top. You judge them when they're down, and how they come back. Let see how we can pick ourselves up."
South Shore shot a dismal 3-14 from the foul line, ultimately costing the team the game.
Asked if poor free throw shooting has been a lingering problem this season, Gladden replied, "It's been our Achilles' heel. We missed two big ones in the fourth (quarter), and those hurt."
South Shore hosts Francis Lewis High School Monday at 5:30 p.m.