He asked, and she answered.
With his team trailing in the fourth quarter, South Shore coach Anwar Gladden told his players he didn’t want the semifinals to be his last game with this group of seniors.
McDonald’s All-American forward Brianna Fraser ensured it wasn’t.
“She went after it,” Gladden said. “She went, and got it. That was great.”
The Maryland commit scored 10 of her game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter to spark top-seeded South Shore past No. 4 and defending champion Francis Lewis 60–54 in the Public School Athletic League Class AA girls’ basketball semifinals on March 7 at Lehman College. South Shore, which advances to its third-straight final, faces No. 3 Grand Street for the title at 11 am on March 14 at Madison Square Garden.
Fraser dropped in seven-straight points during a 13–0 Vikings run in the fourth that put her team up 57–50 with 1:18 to play in the game.
“She played like she was supposed to play,” said senior guard Ashley McDonald with a big smile.
South Shore (22–4) trailed by as many as 11 points in the third quarter in a rematch of last year’s title game that was won by the Patriots (19–7). It was down five with 4:15 to play in the contest before the game-changing run.
Fraser put the Vikings ahead for good when she made one of two free throws and then completed a three-point play on the next possession. She finished her flurry by burying a contested jumper from the free throw line to put South Shore up 56–50 with 1:05 to go in the game.
“I tried to hit that to make my team play a little bit harder, and to build up more excitement so we can take this,” Fraser said.
The Vikings may not have been in position to make the comeback had it not been the steady play of McDonald (12 points). She hit three treys in the game, including one big one behind the arc in the fourth. It pulled South Shore within 43–42 with 5:38 to play in the contest to put her team in position to beat Francis Lewis after consecutive losses to the Queens school.
“That three-pointer was big,“ Fraser said. “It got everybody into the mentality that it’s not over. We have to keep going. We have to keep pushing.”
Taliyah Brisco paced Lewis with 14 points. Sierra Green and Robyn Francis added 12 points apiece. The Patriots led 31–25 at the half and just 39–37 after three.
The Vikings had plenty of young players on the court, but the team never panicked thanks to its six seniors.
South Shore advances to face a Grand Street team it beat in both teams’ season opener. The winner ensures the first Brooklyn champion since Paul Robeson in 1991, and the first city title in either program’s history.
South Shore believes it’s high time to bring home the crown after four previous trips to the title game in the last six years.
“It’s about that time,” McDonald said. “Go out on top. That is all we are focused on right now — getting that championship and going to states.”