South Shore’s bid for a national level upset quickly got away in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings girls’ basketball team trailed Dillard (Fla.) — ranked No. 3 in the country by USA Today — by just three points heading into the final quarter. The Panthers’ pressure defense in the half court finally wore down the Brooklyn school, leading to a 65–44 defeat in the semifinals of the Dick’s Nationals Tournament at Christ the King on April 3. South Shore turned the ball over 25 times in a game that was televised nationally on ESPNU.
“We just ran out of gas down the stretch in the fourth quarter,” said Vikings coach Anwar Gladden. “It was a three-point game going into the fourth. We just couldn’t sustain it.”
Dillard went on a 9–0 run with South Shore down just 39–37 and 6:27 to go in the game. The Vikings (23–5) couldn’t stop the bleeding as Dillard rattled off a 21–3 spurt that put what was a close game for three and half quarters well out of the Vikings’ reach.
The loss was especially hard for McDonald’s All-American Brianna Fraser.
“It’s a little emotional because this is the last time I can where this uniform,” she said.
Dillard hadn’t played since winning a Florida State title the last week February. Panthers coach Marcia Pinder said she wanted to test the South Shore guards and take Fraser out of her comfort zone. Fraser paced South Shore with 17 points and 10 rebounds in her final high school game. Valena Hickerson added six points.
“We had some problems with Fraser,” Pinder said. “She’s good.”
Fraser, who is headed to Maryland, didn’t want to use a busy week as an excuse for her slow start. She scored a state Federation tournament record 46 points in a semifinal loss to Christ the King on March 27, and played in the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago on April 1.
“I just came out slow,” Fraser said. “I don’t think I ever got comfortable. We just needed to play harder and to play together.”
Her team lead by as many as four with 6:39 to go in the second quarter, but Dillard (31–1) finished the frame on a 5–0 run to take a 25–23 lead into the break. South Shore had no answer for Dillard point guard Destiny Fraser. She scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Courtney Parson added 13 points and nine boards.
The loss ends a historic season for the Vikings. The program won its first Public School Athletic League Class AA title after five empty trips to the championship game. It had Christ the King and Dillard on the ropes in its final two games, but could not pull out victories to give its senior class a few more games together.
“The seniors got to experience a championship in a South Shore uniform,” Gladden said. “I think that is incredible. When we look back at the season we will be very appreciative of that.”