2004-01-30 / Sports

Bishop, Stella Prepare For Basketball Stretch Run

By Elio Velez
Bishop, Stella Prepare For Basketball Stretch Run By Elio Velez

Stella Maris and Bishop Kearney High School faced some growing pains when they appeared recently at the 7th Annual Monsignor King Girls Tournament. Though both teams did not make the champion ship, the competition they faced from the public and private schools will prepare these teams for the stretch run in the Catholic High School Athletic Association playoffs.

Flippers Looking To Repeat

The Stella Maris Lady Flippers look to rebound in league play after three losses in the tournament. Stella Maris is 9-7 as they start play this week after taking regents tests. Though the Flippers took their lumps against tough competition, it was a great learning experience according to head coach Maureen Gigliello.

"It’s tough when we lost two players before the tournament but they ran the court for four quarters and they had their eyes wide open."

The Flippers have not been healthy for the past month, as they’ve missed 1,000-point scorer Natalie DeSanctis due to an injury to her left hand and Nicole Santoro with strained ligaments in her knee. Stella Maris will have a healthy lineup on the floor once DeSanctis and Santoro returns.

Once healthy, The Flippers look to return to the CHSAA II champion ship, where they last year defeated Fontbonne. They have returned most of their players from last season. DeSanctis and MaryBeth Raphael can dish and score the ball, Jennifer Anglero can score 15 points a game and center Juanita Whyms is adjusting to the starting lineup.

"This year, we’re better at rebounding and on the ball defense", says Gigliello. "In the long term, the competition we played at Monsignor King is what we need to prepare for our run to the Division II championship."

Crockett Leads Bishop Kear ney

Breezy Point native Cathy Crock ett has coached the Tigers for 17 years and she knows this year’s is going through some growing pains this year. The team may be 4-12 but Bishop Kearney plays in one of the most competitive and arguably one of the best divisions in the city. The CHSAA Division I includes teams such as the Monsignor King runner up Mary Louis, Christ the King, Bishop Loughlin and Bishop Ford.

"My goal is to get to the playoffs but in order to make a run in the playoffs, we need to face the competition", Cathy Crockett says. "It’s one of the most competitive leagues I believe in the country as far as a league."

The Tigers had a competitive showing in the tournament going 1-3 and only lost 56-51 against undefeated PSAL Queens power Francis Lewis. Trading baskets for the entire game, The Tigers were up ahead 51-46 with 2 minutes left and Jennifer Lawler barely missed an open 3 pointer with 11 seconds to tie.

It’s a veteran squad that returns five seniors and five juniors. She has been trying to find the right combination by mixing at times four seniors such as Jill Brady along with freshman center Maria Laterza. The team has started to pick up their game and Crockett has been patient with their development.

If patience is regarded as a virtue, then Crockett embodies that value. In her 17 years, her teams have won four state Catholic championships and two federation titles. Kerry Han ley, who is an assistant coach at Bishop Kearney, Katelyn Lawler, Caitlin Boyle and Janelle McManus are just a few of the great players that have come out of that program.

Most teams knows that Crockett will prepare her squad to compete every night and more than 250 wins in her career proves how hard her teams work.

"They work really hard and things are starting to come together", Crockett says. "We’re playing quality good teams and nobody on our schedule that we can’t compete with. We want to go to the state tournament."


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