Brianna Fraser and her South Shore teammates have finally put an end to the taunts from their classmates about always making the title game but never winning the crown.
The McDonald’s All-American played the best game of her high school career to lead South Shore to its first Public School Athletic League Class AA girls’ basketball crown. Fraser scored 15 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked six shots in the top-seeded Vikings’ 42–30 win over No. 4 Grand Street at Madison Square Garden on March 13.
“We can finally say we did it,“ Fraser said.
The victory ends years of agony for 13-year head coach Anwar Gladden and his seniors. South Shore finally won the crown in its fifth trip to the final in the last seven years. South Shore is also the first Brooklyn school to win since Paul Robeson in 1991. This group of seniors has been the top-seed for four-straight postseasons before finally bringing home the crown.
“This just caps off their careers,” Gladden said. “Everybody judges the champion, but the body of work. They have been the dominant team in the city for the last four years. They just haven’t been able to close it out. Today they capped off a great public school career.”
Fraser, who lives down the block from Gladden, took over the game in the fourth quarter. The Maryland commit scored 11-straight South Shore points. Seven of those came after Grand Street pulled within 30–28 with 7:07 to play. First there was a layup inside, than a three-point play as Fraser split two Wolves defender. She capped it off with a elbow jumper to put the Vikings up 37–28 at the 5:20 mark of the fourth.
“She wanted to win very bad,” said sophomore guard Valerie Hickerson, who scored seven points. “She put the team on her shoulders.”
Junior forward Shanique Edwards did that early for Grand Street, which was making its first appearance in the final, She scored eight of her 12 points in the first quarter and grabbed 15 rebounds for the game. Grand Street trailed just 21–16 at the half. But the Wolves struggled at the free throw line, shooting just one of 10, and never got a second scorer going. The Wolves had a chance to tie the score in the fourth, but could not convert a layup. Amani Graham scored seven points and Arelis Cora had five.
“It felt like we were down, but on the verge of breaking through,” said Grand Street coach Corey McFarlane. “We usually know somebody is going to step up. We didn’t get shots to go and we didn’t get a couple of calls. At the end of the game we, had one girl in double digits.”
Amanda Cruz scored six points, dished out six assists and grabbed four rebounds for South Shore. Ashley McDonald had four points and three assists.
South Shore advances to the New York State Federation tournament and plays Catholic champions Christ the King on March 27th at UAlbany. In the meantime, the Vikings can enjoy the glow of finally bringing a city championship banner home to Brooklyn.
“It feels great to finally get a championship since I’ve been here for four years,“ Fraser said. “It feels good that we got it this time.”