There was concern on the Nazareth bench as St. Frances Academy pulled within striking distance heading into the fourth quarter.
“We were all looking at each other like, ‘What are we doing?’” senior forward Taylor Ford said.
The person concerned the least was Lady Kingsmen girls basketball coach Apache Paschall, who told his team to attack the basket. He had been mixing his bench, including five freshmen, into the lineup the entire game. Paschall felt that with junior point guard Darius Faulk and star frosh Bianca Cuevas on the court, neither was going to let the game get away.
“As long as I have those two on the floor they are going to make plays,” the coach said.
True to form both did down the stretch. Cuevas, who scored nine points, had four straight early in the fourth, including a 3-pointer from the left side. Faulk completed a big 3-point play after a Sofia Roma putback with less than a minute to play to seal up an eventual 53-41 win over St. Frances (Md.) in the Breezy Bishop Showcase at Poly Tech HS on Sunday.
“We thought we should be up by 25 coming into the second half, but we were a little too comfortable with the lead we had and we lost all our energy coming into the second half,” said Faulk, who scored eight points.
Ford and Bra’Shey Ali each had seven points for nationally ranked Nazareth (5-1), which used its defense to grab a 32-16 advantage at the half after going up 25-9 with 5:00 remaining in the second quarter. Brianna Sidney and Roma each added six points apiece, but Paschall used the game to get his underclassmen, especially forwards Roma, Yasmine Belk and Chelsea Robinson, playing time since they play most games behind a veteran front line.
Sophomore Tyshell King led St. Frances (2-1) with 17 points, one of the big reasons they hung around. Daja Belt had 10 and Adreonia Coleman added six. The Panthers were playing without 6-foot-3 sophomore Infiniti Alston and Syracuse-bound forward Tiffany Jones missed her third straight game for Nazareth because of injury.