Vikings get after it despite absence of Odom

For Anwar Gladden, there was one major difference between his team’s losses to Midwood and Francis Lewis – and it had nothing to do with the absence of star guard Jasmine Odom in the latter.

“We played harder [against Lewis],” Gladden said.

South Shore lost, 50-41, at home last Friday in PSAL Class AA girls basketball with Odom sidelined with a knee injury. But the Vikings’ overall play was a marked improvement over their 45-38 loss to Midwood last Wednesday.

“It’s a young team,” Gladden said. “They didn’t bring it that day.”

They did Friday and it started with Shelby Powell. The sophomore guard had 12 points and was much more assertive at the point. She got into the lane, got her teammates involved and finished strong around the rim.

But her great game ended in an unfortunate situation. After drawing South Shore (11-5, 8-2 Brooklyn AA Group 1) within 39-38 of Lewis (15-1, 11-0) with 3:10 left, Powell was whistled for traveling. She slammed the ball down in frustration and referees called a technical foul – her fifth – with 2:01 to go. Lewis senior guard Shenita Urquhart made both free throws and sophomore Jasmine Davis made two more for a four-point Patriots possession that ended with 1:47 left.

To Gladden, that changed the game – Lewis finished on an 11-3 run – and he vehemently argued the technical foul call the rest of the way.

“The refs were terrible,” Gladden said. “That’s a delay of game in a 1-point game. She wasn’t mad at the ref; she was mad at herself.”

Gladden wasn’t mad at his girls, though. The offense seemed to run more smoothly without Odom – sometimes the young players look to her too much. And South Shore’s defensive intensity was there at times. Taylor Lloyd had eight points and freshman Aliyah Cooley knocked down a pair of big 3-pointers in the second half.

“We weren’t thinking about Odom,” Gladden said.

The coach isn’t sure when she’ll be back, but doesn’t expect it to be more than a few games. Gladden said she probably wouldn’t be in the lineup when the Vikings play Freire Charter School (Pa.) at the John F. Kennedy Challenge on Saturday.

“Hopefully, they bring that same intensity,” he said.