Anwar Gladden’s South Shore team was down two points at halftime to Midwood, a squad the Vikings routed twice in the regular season. A potentially magical playoff run was hanging in the balance.
With everything else failing, he had to turn to repetition.
“I told them wake up,” the coach said. “I told them wake up. I told them wake up. I reminded them from the beginning of the year that we’re not that good and any day our season could end.”
That day was not Saturday.
No. 2 South Shore pulled away in the fourth quarter in an eventual 62-41 win over No. 10 Midwood in the PSAL Class AA girls basketball quarterfinals Saturday at Hunter College on March 5. The Hornets gave the Vikings one heck of a scare though.
“We gave up too many points in the first quarter,” Gladden said. “Too many points at the half. Too many points for the game. The defense was down tremendously today. I was disappointed in that.”
That’s what Gladden and his coaching staff told the team at halftime: Don’t worry so much about scoring points, just buckle down on defense.
That happened in the third quarter as South Shore held the opposition to just two field goals. Midwood had just five total field goals the entire second half.
“We were a little shaky on defense today,” Vikings junior forward Fannisha Price said. “Obviously we’re gonna score. We’ve got a lot of offensive threats.”
And they were extremely balanced. Price, Jasmine Odom and Tatiana Wilson all had 15 points. Freshman Emmeri Archer provided valuable minutes at the guard spot, as did Radasha Pope off the bench. South Shore was simply able to wear Midwood down after the Hornets put forth an excellent first half.
“Again our depth was tremendous,” Gladden said. “It could be anybody any given day. Pope was right there to step up behind [Odom and Wilson]. That’s why coaching this team is fun. There’s so many options you can go to. Today it showed.”
Next up is No. 3 Francis Lewis, a team that South Shore only beat by one point in both teams’ league opener back in early December. The Patriots have been hoping for a rematch since that game.
“I think at Francis Lewis we weren’t at our best,” Price said. “They feel that animosity. They feel like they gotta beat us. We gotta show we want it more.”