ALBANY – Even an historic performance from Brianna Fraser was not enough to secure a state title for South Shore this year.
The McDonald’s All-American forward scored a single-game tournament record 46 points, but her team couldn’t hold a 10-point fourth-quarter lead to stave off a 71–67 loss to Christ the King in the New York State Federation Class AA girls’ basketball semifinals on March 27 at UAlbany.
Fraser broke the mark of 43 points set by Michelle Blot of Colonie in 2001. South Shore had its 12-game winning streak snapped. Its last loss was also to Christ the King, back on Jan. 11.
“It feels good to score 46 points, but at the end of the day we still lost,” said Fraser, who is the headed to Maryland.
The Vikings held a 53–43 lead with 7:07 remaining in the game, and it looked like South Shore was going to cruise into the final.
“In the beginning of the game we were sharing the ball, playing intense defense, and running the court,” Fraser said.
South Shore (23–4) kept a 59–51 lead with 3:53 left, but things started to slip away after that. Vikings coach Anwar Gladden felt his squad’s normally reliable defense wasn’t as sharp in the fourth quarter. After a Dominique Toussaint free throw, Kaela Kinder scored five consecutive points for Christ the King to cut the Vikings led to 59–57 with 2:32 remaining.
“The defense broke down,” Gladden said. “We made it a free-throw-shooting game, and they made a lot of free throws at the line.”
Fraser responded with a layup to put South Shore up 61–57, but the Royals came back a pair of baskets from Toussaint, who scored 14 of her 28 points in the fourth quarter. A shot by Sydney Zambrotta gave the Royals a 63–62 advantage at the 1:22 mark, but South Shore continued to fight and tied the score at 65–65 on a layup from Jordan Washington with 46.4 seconds left.
Then the Royals (21–7) put the finishing touches on the win, with three-straight foul shots from Toussaint to make it 68–65. It was Christ the King’s first lead since 16–14 at the end of the first quarter.
Gladden said a lack of follow-through cost the Vikings the game.
“I thought they played tough, just didn’t finish it out,” Gladden said. “Last time we didn’t close the game out either, that’s why they beat us twice.”
South Shore had one last opportunity to tie the score. It trailed 69–67 with seven seconds left and Gladden had Keyanna Glover intentionally miss the second free throw to give Fraser a chance to grab a rebound and potentially tie things up with a put back. She missed, but Christ the Kong grabbed the board.
“It’s a give or take,” Gladden said. “We were trying to get Brianna to get the rebound, it’s a rough call [Glover’s] a freshman.”
South Shore fell short in the Federation tournament, but the Vikings, who won the program’s first PSAL city title, will continue to play. It will compete in the semifinals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Nationals Tournament against Dillard (Fla.) on April 3 at Christ the King.
“That’s a blessing,” Gladden said. “Everybody else, this is going to be their last set of games. We still have games we are going to be playing on ESPN, so we’re good.”