2004-02-06 / Sports

Rockaway Natives Excel in College Basketball

By Timothy Kuffner
Rockaway Natives Excel in College Basketball By Timothy Kuffner

Belle Harbor native Janelle Mc Manus helped lead her team to two important league victories last week before falling to Siena 76-58 on Friday, January 30. McManus scored eleven points, going 7 for 9 from the free-throw line, to help the Stags defeat Loyola Maryland on the 25. Three days later the lightning quick point guard posted 20 points on an 8 of 14 shooting performance, to lead her team in victory over Rider.

Fairfield, the preseason favorite to win the MAAC, has been disappointing so far this season, posting an overall record of 6-14 and a MAAC record of 4-6. McManus, however, has re mained a consistent offensive force for the Stags leading the team in points per game with 11.3, assists per game with 3.3, and overall steals with 36. The 5’6" junior, who transferred from Boston College in her sophomore year, has made an immediate impact on the team and looks to improve on her game in her senior year.

Tricia Tubridy of Broad Channel was named to the Ivy League Weekly Honor Roll for the week of January 19 for her stellar academic and athletic performance this season. Tubridy, a senior at Harvard, has started to emerge as a serious scoring threat for the Crimson averaging 6.5 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game and placing fourth in the league with 54 assists.

The Crimson suffered a heartbreaking defeat to league rival Cornell on January 30 with Tubridy scoring five points and grabbing 9 rebounds in 27 minutes of play. The Crimson re bounded the next day to defeat another league opponent, Columbia, 70-58, with Tubridy contributing several key assists during the scoring run that would ultimately seal the victory. Harvard has posted an 8-8 overall record, going only 1-2 in conference play. The chances of Harvard capturing a post-season berth will be made or broken these next few weeks, with several league games in store this Feb ruary for the Crimson

Clare Droesch of Belle Harbor remained a steadying force for the Boston College Eagles despite losing 2 of 3 league games last week. On the 24 of January Droesch scored ten points in an 80-64 loss at the hands of Virginia. On the 28 Droesch led the offensive charge for the Eagles scoring only five points, but dishing out seven assists despite limited playing time. The Eagles finished off a lackluster week with a 52-50 loss at Notre Dame.

Droesch, a 5’11" junior, has displayed remarkable versatility during her time at Boston College, splitting time between two positions—shooting guard and small forward. The consummate team player, Droesch’s stats do not fully reflect the impact she has had on her team’s performance. Averaging 7.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, Droesch brings consistency to the Eagles offensive attack recording 46 assists so far this season, while turning the ball over only 29 times. Her presence will definitely be needed if the Eagles (14-5 overall, 4-4 Big East) plan on advancing to the postseason.

The Hofstra University Men’s Basket ball team suffered a devastating loss last week, losing star center Wendell Gibson, a Far Rockaway native, for the season to a knee injury. The injury occurred in the closing minute of a nail-biting loss to Drexel on the 28 of January. With Hofstra holding a 78-77 lead and thirty seconds remaining on the clock, Gibson grabbed an offensive rebound and landed awkwardly on his right knee. He fell to the floor and was called for traveling, a turnover that ultimately would lead to the winning three pointer for Drexel nine seconds later. Gibson had played a monster of a game until that point, dropping a career high 26 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Hopefully, the Pride can overcome the loss of Gibson, but the injury will most likely have a crippling effect on the team. In its first game without Gibson on January 30, the Hofstra team fell 81-69 to conference frontrunner Virginia Common wealth to lower its record to 8-12 overall, and 4-6 within the conference.

Gibson had shown steady improvement in each of his three college seasons and emerged this year as a dominant force in the Colonial Athletic Association. Prior to his injury, he was averaging 14.3 points and 6.2 re bounds per game, as well as posting a 60.7 field goal percentage that ranked second overall in the conference. Gib son had been the high-scorer in several games for the Pride this season, and in some instances took over in the final seconds to secure victories for his team. Hofstra, a preseason longshot to win the conference, had shown consistent improvement throughout the season and appeared ready to pull off a few upsets in the conference tournament. However, the team will un doub t edly struggle to obtain an NCAA berth in Gibson’s absence.

In his fourth year with the Terriers of Boston University, Kevin Fitz gerald of Belle Harbor, has continued to provide leadership as the starting point guard. Fitzgerald played solidly to help his team secure a 67-55 win over Albany on February 1, following his ten point performance in a 66-56 victory over Stony Brook on January 28, in which he sunk two key field goals during a 10-3 second-half scoring run that gave the Terriers the lead they would not relinquish.

Fitzgerald, currently in his senior year, has been a key figure in Boston University’s success in recent years. A team captain for the past two years, Fitzgerald has started all but two games in his four years at the school. He helped lead the Terriers to an NCAA tournament berth in his sophomore year and an NIT appearance in his junior year. This season he has remained consistent as a point guard and his 49 assists rank him second on the team.

The Terriers have been im ressive this season posting a 14-4 overall record, with a remarkable 8 wins to only 1 loss in the conference. Once again, the Terriers are on track to make it to the America East championship game, where a win will mean another berth in the NCAA tournament for Fitzgerald and his teammates.

Thomas McCormack, co-captain of the Adelphi University Panthers, played remarkably and led a late charge to bring his team back into the game against NYIT on January 31. Unfortunately, he could not singlehandedly lead his team to the victory as the Panthers lost 74-66. McCor mack finished the game with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. The loss snapped a two game winning streak for the Panthers.

On January 26, McCormack was instrumental in snapping C.W. Post’s eight game winning streak, recording 3 assists on beautiful passes on 3 consecutive trips down the court, the Panthers would protect en-route to a 69-66 victory. Adelphi held a overall record of 11-7, going 9-6 in the NCAA Division II New York Collegiate Ath letic Conference.

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