Mike Toro was sick the last few days. And the events of Sunday didn’t make him feel much better.
His Bishop Ford girls basketball team fell to Mary Louis, 63-62, in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I semifinals at Archbishop Molloy. The reason? Toro felt like the Hilltoppers just wanted it more.
“The thing they have to find in them is heart,” the first-year coach said. “It’s what I’ve been saying all year.”
Mary Louis (18-6) was playing with a purpose. The Hilltoppers wanted to win for coach Joe Lewinger, who found out his daughter Madison has a second relapse of cancer Thursday. Even without star Karin Robinson, who fouled out with 5:08 left, TMLA made all the big plays down the stretch.
Toro wasn’t surprised.
“You gotta respect them,” he said. “I never felt like they’re just Karin. You gotta respect every kid on that team.”
Mary Louis senior guard Jackie Kresse gave her team the lead or tie three times with 3-pointers in the second half. Christy Calderon made the game-sealing steal and free throws. Toro was looking for similar clutch plays from his players and he didn’t feel like he got enough of them.
“It was how we reacted whenever they came at us,” he said. “I didn’t like it.”
Shayra Brown had 19 points, Brittany Lewis had 12 points, Diani Mason had 10 points and Shanice Vaughan added nine for Ford (20-5).
It’s not all bad news. The Falcons still have plenty to play for – actually the biggest crown is still out there for the taking. Bishop Ford will play Kellenberg, the top seed out of Long Island, in the CHSAA Class AA state quarterfinals March 12 right back to Molloy. The Falcons are also the only team in the tournament that have beaten top contenders St. Michael Academy and Christ the King.
Until then, though, Toro said it’s back to “the lab” to fix what’s ailing the Falcons.
“At the end of the day,” he said, “the goal is still to get upstate.”