All it took was one shot for Baytania Newman to realize the fourth quarter would belong to her. With the score tied with 4:42 left, Newman connected on a one-handed floater in the lane to give South Shore the lead for good.
“First time I hit the floater I felt it,” she said. “I was hot. I kept going to the basket.”
The senior guard connected on two more floaters and scored eight of the Lady Vikings next 10 points as South Shore would go on to hold off host Francis Lewis 53-46 in a Brooklyn/Queens AA girls’ basketball crossover game Friday night.
“She can take her man anytime,” South Shore coach Anwar Gladden said.
Newman, who had 15 points, made a layup off a Francis Lewis turnover to cap a 10-3 run that gave South Shore a 48-41 lead with 2:08 left in a frantic fourth quarter. Jasmine Odom finished with 17 points for the Lady Vikings. Their 2-2-1 press pestered Lewis point guard Kelly Robinson and forced numerous turnovers and rushed shots. Lewis never found a consistent way to handle it.
“We have only one girl on our team who can handle the ball well,” Patriots coach and South Shore alum Mike Eisenberg said. “I have to give coach Gladden a lot of credited. He took the ball out of Kelly’s hands, doubled Kelly, tripled Kelly.”
Francis Lewis led 18-9 in the second quarter with the pace slowed and the turnovers limited for a bit. Sabrina Jeridore scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Tatiana Wilson added 13 points for Francis Lewis (1-1). Robinson had seven.
The Lewis led was trimmed to 25-23 at the half as South Shore’s relentless traps and pressure continually forced turnovers. The Lady Vikings watched as the Patriots, which has seven new players including three highly-touted transfers, miss over a dozen layups and commit about the same number of turnovers.
“We are not as good as your hype,” Eisenberg said. “You read all the websites, we’re the greatest thing since the 1969 Knicks. We’re just not. Not yet anyway.”
South Shore (2-0) wants games to play out exactly as it did Friday night. It wants to use the superior athleticism of its guards, Odom, Newman and Angel Porter, to wear down teams by the fourth quarter.
“[Gladden] told us the fourth quarter we’d have to work hard,” Newman said. “So we ran every practice like it’s the fourth quarter. We’d act like we were down with the clock going and we’d have to run hard.”
Gladden calls this team his best conditioned squad in seven years, one which ran two miles often in the preseason.
“If you want to run up and down with us, we could play another two games right now,” Gladden said. “We are in excellent shape.”