South Shore Vikings coach Anwar Gladden doesn’t want anyone getting too excited over his team’s 54–46 win over host Murry Bergtraum last Friday.
The Vikings earned a similar early season win over the 14-time defending Public School Athletic League champions last season. Bergtraum went on to celebrate at Madison Square Garden, but South Shore fell in the semifinals to McKee-Staten Island Tech.
“We had the same win last year, except at our place and we kind of sank down in the season,” Gladden said. “It’s only December. We’re going to stress that to the kids.”
One thing the coach is excited about is forwards Aurellia Cammock and Brianna Fraser’s play. Fraser, a sophomore, led all scorers with 19 points and Iona-bound Cammock had 15. Their dominance came around the basket, rebounding shots and creating space in the lane for second-chance opportunities.
“We feel like we have one of the better front courts in the city,” Gladden said. “That’s definitely to our advantage and we stress to the guards to shoot. They just have to keep shooting because Auriella and Bri will go get it.”
Cammock stepped to the line in the final minutes of a six-point game to sink two key free throws to seal the win. They came right after Fraser hit two of her own as Murry Bergtraum tried to distract her.
“I tried to block the crowd out and try to shoot straight forward and focus on making the basket,” said Fraser.
South Shore led by as many as 12 points mid-way through the second quarter, but Murry Bergtraum increased it defensive pressure and ripped off a 12–5 run to pull within five points at the half. Bergtraum pulled as close as 36–33 in the third quarter on a jumper by sophomore Alexandria Smith. South Shore immediately answered with a 5–0 run. It also made life tough on Bergtraum’s backcourt of Jasmine Nwajei, Ashanae McLaughlin, and Joella Gibson.
“Turnovers hurt us,” Murry Bergtraum coach Ed Grezinsky said. “We need a little more out of our bench. We need a little more out of our press.”
But South Shore knows it can be better too. It played much of the game without junior guard Emmerie Archer, who twisted her ankle early in the first quarter. The Vikings gained plenty of satisfaction from the win.
“It boosts our confidence, most definitely,” Cammock said. “We know we’re the best team in the Public School Athletic League and we can beat any team that steps before us.”