Brittany Lewis has been waiting for her moment of validation, where the freshman truly proves to herself and her teammates that she can be an important contributor on the varsity level.
She doesn’t have to wait anything longer.
With Bishop Ford trailing St. Francis Prep by two with less than 35 seconds left, Shayra Brown missed a layup and then a put back, but Lewis came to the rescue. She secured the rebound with Prep defenders on either side, scored on the put back and was fouled.
“I realized that was mine – I had to grab it,” Lewis said. “If I didn’t, who knows how the game would have turned out?”
Lewis, who has played significant time this season and has started, then calmly made the ensuing free throw with 24 seconds left. Jenna Halaby’s runner from the right baseline hit off the left side of the rim and out as Bishop Ford held on for a 35-34 victory over the visiting Terriers in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I girls’ basketball Wednesday. Lewis finished with eight points and 11 rebounds with the WNBA’s Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Silver Stars looking on.
“It makes me feel like I definitely earned my spot on the team,” Lewis said. “I’m proud to say I am on varsity, but I just want my team to trust me more. I am a freshman and I wanted to show them that I can come out when we are having a tough time and they can rely on me.”
Bishop Ford coach John LoSasso saw Lewis’ potential from the beginning.
“She is the kind of kid who will make something happen,” he said. “She’s a playmaker.”
St. Francis Prep (0-1) took a 34-32 lead on Aliya Donn’s driving layup with 46 seconds left, but couldn’t pull in the final rebound to close out what would have been an important win for the young Terriers.
“It’s your rebound,” St. Francis Prep coach JoAnn Wagner said. “They have to take it away from you and instead we let them have it. We didn’t box out. That was frustrating.”
Watching both teams continually turn the ball over and miss easy shots couldn’t have been much more fun. Neither team had a player score in double figures nor went on any lengthy scoring runs. Halaby led St. Francis Prep with eight points and Brown, Vanessa D’Ambrosi and Christine Conroy each added seven for Ford (1-1).
The game’s pace was frantic, leading to bad passes and rushed shots. That speed should have favored Bishop Ford’s up-tempo style, but Prep was able to tip passes and get back in transition for the most part.
“It’s not faster than I want to play,” LoSasso said. “It’s just that I want to play cleaner.” Lewis added: “We weren’t playing our game. Our game is fast paced. It’s organized chaos for us. Today was just chaos.”
St. Francis Prep handled it well for the most part, using excellent ball movement to beat Ford’s ful-court press and half-court traps. Many of those efforts led to easy baskets and a slim lead for most of the contest.
“The identification for 50 percent of the game was there,” Wagner said. “The other 50 percent was out of control.”
Lewis finally brought some order to the chaos.
“I didn’t think I’d have to step up as far as I did,” she said. “I look up to everyone on my team, but time requires a point where you have to say I am a part of this team, too.”
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