Some traditions are made to be broken.
At the start of the season, South Shore coach Anwar Gladden pointed out to his players that the school has made the Public School Athletic League girls’ basketball title game once every two seasons for many years. But the top-seeded Vikings ended that trend on March 4 with a dominant 52–25 victory over No. 4 Midwood in the semifinals at Lehman College.
South Shore earned a second-straight berth in the final, and its fourth in the last six years on Tuesday night. The Vikings face No. 2 Francis Lewis at 12 pm on Saturday at the Barclays Center.
“We are kind of making history because we broke the streak of winning, then losing, then winning,” said Maryland-bound junior forward Brianna Fraser.
Fraser led the way with 16 points, Valena Hickson had 12, and senior forward Teanna Henderson chipped in eight. Henderson was also a force on boards, and picked apart the Midwood defense with precision passes from the high post.
Gladden said Henderson improved greatly over the years by playing behind Division-I-caliber forwards like Fannisha Price, Jenice Winter, and Auriella Cammock, and she has made the most of her opportunity this season.
“She waited three years,” Gladden said. “This was her time to play, and she came up big today.”
South Shore (16–7) slowly built its lead as it used its size to halt the Midwood (16–6) offense. The Vikings led 23–16 at the half, and 38–20 after three, before holding the Hornets to just five fourth-quarter points. Midwood coach Mike Moore credited South Shore with limiting stars Kayla Formey (10 points) and Amina Markovic. Still, Moore is proud of this team for making the school’s first semifinal appearance since 2007 under Artie LaGreca.
“That’s major for the program,” Moore said of playing in the final four. “It’s a testament to us trying to keep up the rich tradition of the program and me trying to follow my predecessor.”
South Shore, on the other hand, is trying to one-up the teams that came before it by bringing home the school’s first city title.
The team has title-game experience on its side, as well as the motivation of having lost last season. He and the players feel that could be a big factor come Saturday.
“We know what it takes,” Henderson said. “We have been through the pain and the hurt of losing last year.”