Injuries, Academics Stun BCHS Basketball
By Elio Velez
The smiles were plastered on the faces of the Beach Channel boys' varsity team all season. In their conversion to the PSAL 'AA" Division, they had handled themselves with aplomb and vigor in getting out to an 11-3 regular season record.
But things have most certainly changed in one week. The Dolphins have sputtered in many facets losing players to injuries and most importantly, academics which have stunted their early progress.
On January 31, the first signs that the Dolphins good vibes would turn sour began to happen. Shooting guard Brian Baker broke his left wrist after colliding with the BCHS gymnasium's brick wall in a 57-55 victory over Bryant.
He's due to miss a month but most likely will not return. Backup center Mike McGann injured his calf and will not return until the Queens borough playoffs begin on Tuesday.
Academic failure caused starting point guard Marcus Thompkins and backup Yaquis Moss to be ineligible.
Devon Saxon missed two games due to academics but he was cleared to play for the presstime matchup between Bayside and today's rescheduled match against Cardozo, which was postponed from mid-December. The return of their senior, who is the leading scorer and rebounder, is vastly important according to McGann.
"I feel that the team's morale is and will be higher and will have a better chance to get to the borough championship with him" Mike McGann said
With consecutive losses to Cardozo and Campus Magnet, the Dolphins will have to make due with the depleted roster that they have.
They have no other choice. If they don't win one of their last two ballgames, Van Buren, who trail in fifth place by one game in the division, may be their opponent in a elimination game to decide who advances to the borough championship.
Lady Dolphins Plummet
Losing one starter can hurt a basketball team but in the case of the Beach Channel Lady Dolphins, losing three key starters has been a big blow in a downtrodden 2-11 season in the PSAL Queens 'AA".
A combined 35 points per game departed the team as seniors Antoinette Jolly and Tanya Nelson along with sophomore Precious Hills was declared academically ineligible prior to the report card released last December. Jolly and Nelson were three year players and instrumental to their back to back playoff appearances.
"I'm disappointed for a lot of reasons because I expected those girls to play. I thought we could have won a couple of more games," head coach Craig Kander.
It's made it difficult for first year head coach Craig Kander as he had to insert players into the starting lineup with little experience playing organized ball.
Games lost to such perennial powers such as their 74-20 shellacking by Grand Street Campus last Wednesday makes it certainly tough to bounce back. There is no quit yet because Kander is already preparing for the long run and the short term. He still has to prepare his troops as all 'AA' teams have qualified for the playoffs, which start on Wednesday.
"It's been a tough year. It's not that the girls who were out there didn't play hard. They did. A lot of them are coming back because they are freshmen and sophomores," Kander said.
"We're going to work out a lot during the summer so the future is looking up."
TMLA Defeats Tigers
The end of the Brooklyn Queens Catholic girls' varsity season should be interesting when it involves Bishop Kearney and Mary Louis Academy. The Hilltoppers got revenge for an earlier season loss with an easy 80- 54 rout at their home court last Monday night over Bishop Kearney.
Amanda Burakoski was impressive as the 5 foot 10 sophomore was all over the court, scoring 33 points as TMLA (14-3 overall, 5-3 league) avenged a 78-64 loss at Bishop Kearney (15-3 overall, 6-2 league) on January 19.
Tiffany and Kelly Carmen are Rockaway residents who are also on the TMLA roster. Maria Laterza scored 26 points and in the loss to Mary Louis but they did bounce back last Wednesday with a 69-60 road win at St. Francis Prep.
Michelle Kenel, a Rockaway resident, scored 10 points in that contest. With four games remaining in the BQCHSAA season, there is a chance that both teams may finish tied with a league record of 9-3. It might force a one game playoff to determine post-season seeding and who will claim second and third place in the BQCHSAA postseason.
Far Rock Goes Through Blues
A young Far Rockaway Lady Seahorses had clinched its ninth win of the season against Springfield Gardens on February 1 and coach Les Sabbah had expected a few more before the playoff begin on Tuesday.
But to the disappointment of the girls head coach, the Seahorses are still stuck at nine wins. A 52-46 loss on the road to Hillcrest last Tuesday was the second consecutive loss for the Seahorses (9-7 PSAL Queens B1). Quenise Holland scored 22 points in the loss to Hillcrest. A combination of factors according to Sabbah has uut them in a predicament where a win is needed to stop the bleeding.
"They may have been celebrating a playoff spot a little too early," Sabbah says as his team plays Campus Magnet and Thomas Edison on Tuesday to finish the regular season.