2004-02-27 / Sports

Dolphins Crush Renaissance To Advance

By Timothy Kuffner
Dolphins Crush Renaissance To Advance By Timothy Kuffner

Katreem PalmerKatreem Palmer

The Beach Channel High School Lady Dolphins will need to change their game plan if they want to keep their fans in their seats until the end of the game. At the start of yesterday’s playoff game against Renaissance High School the Beach Channel gym was packed to the brim with loyal fans waiting to see their team perform. By the end of the first quarter, only half of those fans remained, and by the game’s conclusion, only parents, teachers, and security guards remained to support the team. This emptiness should not bring into question the fan’s loyalty to their team, for all in attendance wholeheartedly supported the efforts of the Lady Dolphins. Rather the lack of fans in the stands at the end of game represents just one more sign of how dominant this pack of hard-working young women has been so far.

Beach Channel lead 17-3 at the end of the first quarter, leaving little doubt as to who would be the victor in this contest, and supporters could head home early, satisfied with the fact that the Lady Dolphins would more than secure the victory by the half. They did more than just that, taking a 37-5 lead into halftime, en route to a 76-21 victory in which every girl saw substantial playing time and contributed to an all around drubbing of their helpless opponent.

Katreem Palmer continued her outstanding play, scoring 11 points in the first quarter to propel her team to an early lead. Ola Soetan and Chaquit Ivory did a great job dishing out the ball and getting back on defense leading to many fast break points for the Lady Dolphins. Gina Giles and Dan drel Young rounded out the starting five, each recording a number of blocks and steals to stymie the defense and keep the Lady Knights of Renaissance trapped in the depths of offensive futility.

With a 37-5 lead at halftime, the second half saw subs like Leona Laibhen and Jodi Vitale perform extremely well. Vitale had a remarkable third quarter. In only six minutes the junior point guard dished out four assists and scored ten points, most of which came on beautiful full court passes from Palmer who once again dominated the boards on both ends of the court. Laibhen finished with nine points of her own, the third highest total on the team, in a game in which nearly every Lady Dolphin managed to drop the ball through the basket at least once.

Gina GilesGina Giles

Palmer might have played her best game in a Dolphins uniform. The senior center finished her scoring in the second quarter, sinking a free throw to give her 17 points for the game. While she might have been done scoring the ball, her presence was undoubtedly felt on the court for the rest of the game. Palmer pulled down 20 re bounds and dished out 10 assists to record the first triple double of her career. In addition to her fantastic offensive output, the electrifying center played stellar defense, completely controlling the area under basket. Her six blocks were all met with raucous cheers from the Beach Channel faithful and the Renaissance players ap peared more and more frightened to drive the lane as the game went on.

With a 60-9 lead after the third quarter, head coach Victor Nazario felt com pletely comfortable letting his subs finish off the game, and the crowd caught a glimpse of the future as freshman Tanya Standford ran the point for the fourth quarter. The youngest Dolphin looked in control handling the ball and made several tough passes look easy, helping her team score 16 points to cap off the scoring, and the game, at 76-21. Standford proved why she is the point guard of the future for the Lady Dolphins.

The win sends the Lady Dolphins into the quarterfinals of the city championships where they will meet Martin Van Buren High School, a 17-3 team from the Queens II-B Division who beat John Bowne High School by a score of 56-43 last Wednesday. Head coach Nazario is confident in his team’s ability to beat Van Buren, but does not want to let the girls head into the game with a relaxed attitude. He insists that the regimen of hard work and practice that he has enforced throughout the season, and throughout his career coaching the Lady Dolphins, will continue throughout the week. He admits that his team has made the mistake of playing down to their opponents in the past, but he is confident that the Lady Dolphins share his drive to win, and have the ability and determination to realize their goals:

"I’ve been optimistic all year. This team is a veteran group. It is the end result of a group of kids who have been working hard for years now."

Concerning the team’s disappointing loss in the second round of the playoffs last year, Nazario remarked, "Ob viously last year was a disappointment, but I think it left a real bitter taste in their mouths, and they really want to prove themselves this year."

Above all else, however, Nazario is happy for his team, "These girls have worked so hard these past couple of years and they have developed a real special chemistry. They really care about each other and their desire to win. I am really proud of them."

While the players themselves are ultimately responsible for this year’s stellar season, it would be foolish to overlook the contribution and commitment that Nazario has brought to the team. Nazario has reinstilled a desire to win into the Beach Channel Athletic Program and has taught the Lady Dolphins that nothing can be accomplished without hard work and perseverance. He has taught his players to take pride in their team and its accomplishments and has exhausted his efforts trying to bring back some semblance of glory to the Beach Channel High School Athletic department. One faculty member remarked, "Victor is a football coach at heart, but has truly dedicated himself to this team and learned so much about basketball since taking over that he has turned the program around. He is a much needed, rejuvenating, refreshing voice that the kids respond to."

The Lady Dolphins will play their quarterfinal game this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Lehman College against Van Buren. Hopefully their loyal fans will once again have the chance to get an early start on their commute to home.

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