Grand Street looking to take next step after strong start

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Coming close isn’t enough for Grant Street Campus anymore.

The Wolves girls’ basketball team is past that stage of the program’s development, but it hasn’t ascended to the top level on the court just yet.

Grand Street is off to a 7–5 start and at 5–2 in Public School Athletic League Class AA play, and is now one of the top teams in the league. But the squad is without a signature win that would vault it into the conversation with the city’s elite teams.

“Our girls believe that they can beat anybody,” coach Corey McFarlane said.

Grand Street lost to league runner-up South Shore by six points in its season opener. Then it fell to city power Murry Bergtraum by nine, and recently suffered a two-point loss to Archbishop Molloy, arguably the city’s best team, at the HoopsQueens Winterball before Christmas.

McFarlane said his team was embarrassed after losing to borough rival South Shore because coming close is no longer good enough.

“The past years we have been underdogs,” junior guard Kaisah Lucky said. “Losing by 5 or 10 to Bergtraum or South Shore, it was like an accomplishment. It hurts more this year.”

That’s because Grand Street is now a veteran club, and this year it added one of the city’s best young players in sophomore forward Shanique Edwards. Just three seasons ago, Grand Street won only two league games.

“My freshman year we used to lose by 30 and 40,” said junior guard Darieli Abreu.

Now the Grand Street backcourt is made up of Lucky, Abreu and fifth-year senior Arelis Cora. Cora was granted another season of eligibility after missing nearly two seasons because of an ACL tear, according to McFarlane.

McFarlane said Lucky and Abreu can really score when they get going.

“The explosiveness is going to come out from Lucky and Darieli,” he said. “Those are the two girls who are really capable.”

Their job and that of senior forward Amani Graham was made easier by the arrival of 6-foot-2 Edwards from Nazareth. She is a difference maker by her presence alone. The attention she draws from defenses take pressure off Graham and gives the guards more room to operate. Edwards is averaging 15.8 points and 11.4 rebounds in league play.

“It’s been able to open up a lot of stuff for us,” McFarlane said. “We just have to get out of the habit of watching her.”

People are beginning to watch the Wolves now, and to notice the strides the program has made. Grand Street is in position to take the next step. It is just a matter of turning what they believe into reality.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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