Winning never gets old.
Just ask the top-seeded South Shore girls basketball team, which won its third straight Public Schools Athletic League “AA” championship on March 11, taking down No. 2 Murry Bergtraum 68–34 at Madison Square Garden.
In the past few seasons, the Lady Vikings have become accustomed to being champions, but their coach continues to warn them against overconfidence.
“I tell them, ‘Don’t take it for granted,’ ” said South Shore coach Anwar Gladden. “I stressed that at the beginning of the season. Two teams are going to be there, but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll be there.”
But on Saturday, South Shore dominated from the start, holding the Lady Blazers to just four points in the first quarter. Bergtraum committed 15 turnovers in the first half and the Lady Vikings took advantage of each one, notching 11 points off the miscues.
South Shore settled into a tough zone defense, giving Bergtraum’s offense fits, and pushed the tempo on offense, dominating in transition and grabbing the momentum against a Lady Blazers team making its first title game appearance since 2013.
“We felt that this was ours the whole game, the whole year,” said South Shore senior Selena Philoxy, who is bound for Seton Hall next season. “The talking and the rebounding helped us a lot.”
Not much changed in the second half. South Shore outscored Bergtraum 20–4 in the third quarter — sparked by a 16–0 run midway through the period — and kept the Lady Blazers off the scoreboard for more than six minutes. The Lady Vikings squad took a 52–21 lead, but refused to ease up on its opponents.
“We’re never supposed to get comfortable, never understimate any team,” said senior guard Valena Hickerson. “Don’t get complacent; you’ve got to keep playing and if you let up, then they come back and you don’t want that. So we always try to keep our foot on their throat.”
By the final buzzer, South Shore had won just about every statistical battle, outrebounding Bergtraum 54–37 — including 22–10 on the offensive glass — forcing 28 turnovers and notching 13 assists on 27 made field goals. The Lady Vikings were led by senior Tsahai Corbie, who finished with a game-high 12 points and was named the game’s most valuable player.
South Shore now advances to the New York State Federation Tournament, taking on Long Island Lutheran in Glens Falls later this month, and the Lady Vikings have their sights set on a title. The team has come up short in each of the last two seasons and, unlike winning city titles, that feeling has gotten just a bit old.
“I feel like the model for this team is say less and do more,” Corbie said. “We don’t like to say what we want to do, we just want to show them. We still got states, so we’re just going to focus on that and stay humble.”