Nazareth is officially kings of CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens.
The top-seeded Lady Kingsmen completed the sweep of the league’s regular season and playoff crowns with a 50-35 win over No. 3 Mary Louis Saturday in the Brooklyn/Queens Division I girls basketball title game at Bishop Ford.
Taylor Ford scored 14 points and Bianca Cuevas had 12 to help Nazareth to the school’s first-ever title. Tiffany Jones added seven. Jasmine Nwajei tallied 13 points and Karin Robinson had 12 for Mary Louis, which led 14-3 after the first quarter.
“It felt good,” Jones said. “Nobody had faith in us. We’re a target for everybody.”
The diocesan title puts a fine cap to his team’s first season in the league, one that was filled with controversy off the court. Paschall was under investigation by the league for most of the year for alleged recruiting violations, before a decision was tabled Feb. 16. He was suspended that day for a week and two games by Nazareth principal Providencia Quiles because of a sit-down interview about the investigation with The Post, breaking her media ban. She told The Post that Paschall will absolutely return next season as coach.
“I feel like everybody wants us to lose, which motivates us even more,” Ford said. “It just makes us work hard so we can win, so at the end we can show them look what we did. “
Nazareth, ranked No. 13 in the country by USA Today, jumped ahead after Robinson picked up her fourth foul midway through the third. Cuevas sparked a run that ended with a Bra’Shey Ali layup on the baseline to give Naz a 36-29 advantage after three. The energy carried into the fourth where Brianna Sidney hit a 3-pointer from the left corner that pushed the Naz led to 50-34 with 2:13 left in the game.
“I had to be more energized,” Cuevas said
The players were excited about winning the school’s first title. When Mary Louis, which upset Christ the King in the semifinals, came out flying in the first quarter it was the Lady Kingsmen’s upper classmen who took the lead. Jones and Ford attacked the glass and worked a high-low game together on offense. Darius Faulk and Ali turned up the perimeter defense and got out in transition.
“We weren’t ready to lose,” Ford said. “We were not losing. We all stepped up. We played how we can play and we won.”