2006-03-17 / Sports

Bishop Kearney Climbs Up Hill But Can't Reach Top

By Elio Velez

In the first minute of Bishop Kearney's game state catholic semifinals playoff game against Nardin Academy in Buffalo, the ref's whistle set the tone of the basketball game in the early minutes.

The whistle wouldn't be favorable to the Tigers early on as center Maria Laterza and Rockaway senior guard Jill Brady developed early foul trouble. As the number of fouls piled up for Kearney, Nardin Academy's confidence also rose as well. They opened up a 20 point lead in the third quarter and held on to a 61-53 win last Saturday at Canisius College.

The loss eliminated Bishop Kearney form competing in the Class B state championships to be held this Sunday at St. John's.

With Laterza, a 6 foot 2 center, and Brady's scoring out of the mix, Nardin Academy's best players took advantage. Kendra Brim, who set the Buffalo's school all time single season scoring record, scored a game high 24 points which included 3 three-pointers.

The Angels only held a seven point lead into halftime and the Tigers would cut the advantage to 27-25. But as soon as Laterza was reinserted into the game, she would return to the bench after picking up her fourth foul.

Bishop Kearney lost a big presence inside. Brim along with Sarah Sciarrino, who scored 15 points began to dominate the post. Nardin Academy would push out to a 49-29 lead.

The whistle may not have been kind to the Tigers but Breezy Point native and head coach Cathy Crockett told her to team to pick themselves up and get back into the game.

"I said to the girls to hold your heads up and don't be discouraged. I know we could get back into this game," Crockett said.

Kearney would have one last push in the fourth quarter as senior guard Lisa Abitante, who scored 16 points, knocked down a three pointer to cut the lead to 54-47 with few minutes left. Though they tried to fashion a big comeback, Brim would answer back by hitting a basket and two free throws to increase the lead to 11.

Laterza would finish with 20 points leading Bishop Kearney. Brady did not have the great ending she wanted after picking up her fifth foul of the second half in the waning minutes of the games.

Crockett admired her team's fortitude all year, especially fighting back to cut the lead to single digits.

"We were trying to climb up a hole and we couldn't get any closer. We had a great season finishing 19-8. The kids played hard and my heart goes out to them. They didn't lose because of a lack of effort."

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