Kasim Alston wasn’t a happy man for just about the whole game. The Bishop Loughlin coach, who’s usually vocal and active on the sidelines, took a seat in the third quarter out of sheer frustration.
But no other play in the game irked him more than when his team had a chance to tie late.
Archbishop Molloy’s Amani Tatum missed two free throws that would have iced the game, but three Loughlin players didn’t box her out as she grabbed her own rebound. There were no Molloy players lined up for the board at all and Loughlin went on to lose 64-59 in both teams’ CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I girls basketball season finale on Sunday in Fort Greene.
“We didn’t get the ball,” Alston said. “Seven seconds left in the game, it was a one-possession game. We never got the opportunity. It’s the want and the will.”
A victory would have given the Lions a fifth-place finish in Brooklyn/Queens and the top seed from the league in the CHSAA Class A state tournament. Instead, Loughlin will have to settle for sixth place and the No. 2 seed.
Alston didn’t think it should have been that way – not after all the progress his team showed this year, beating third-place Mary Louis and being competitive with just about everyone else.
“We’re supposed to beat that team,” the coach said. “I believe we’re a better team. We’re a better team, but we didn’t execute.”
Although Loughlin made a furious comeback with its pressure and constant attacking in the fourth quarter, the game was really lost in the third. With Molloy up 33-29 and 5:18 left in the frame, the Stanners went on an 8-0 run, with half of those points coming from sophomore Dallas Pralle. Alston found it disturbing that Molloy was able to box out, out-hustle and outwork his players for balls.
“The kids gotta want it more than the coaches, more than the parents,” he said. “That’s why I had to sit down. Usually I’m always standing up. I had to sit down and let them figure out what they should be doing and what they’re doing wrong. I could coach until I’m blue in the face, but it’s not gonna change anything if you don’t really go out there and work and execute.”
Imani Tate was excellent, showing a superb turnaround jumper and finished with 18 points. Jasmine Alston had 11 points and Aliyah Alston added nine for Loughlin. It was a tremendous regular season for a team that didn’t win a single game last year. But Kasim Alston couldn’t help but think his Lions could have done even more.
“A missed opportunity, man,” he said. “The girls picked it up too late in the game.”