Lady Seahorses PSAL Playoff Run Ends In Brooklyn
By Everett Fell
Carrying a team through a playoff run can present a burden for an experienced athlete, yet the task turns near impossible for a rookie.
Far Rockaway's freshman standout Quenise Holland overcame a sluggish start to Tuesday's PSAL second round girls 'B' basketball game before pouring in 23 points in the second half.
Unfortunately, Holland's resurgent performance fell short of leading the No. 29 seed Sea Horses to victory as the undefeated host and No. 4 seed, The Secondary School (15-0), held onto a 52-46 victory.
Holland, who averages 25 point per game, scored two points in the first quarter and none in the second as Far Rockaway (9-8) trailed 21-10 at the half.
The Secondary School pasted twin sisters, Brittany and Brooke Harris on Holland throughout the game, forcing other inexperienced role players to step up.
"It was frustrating," Holland said in reference to the constant double-teaming. "But I'm proud that we were able to make it to the playoffs in my first year."
Holland showcased excellent ball-handling skills in the first half but could not finish her drives.
Far Rockaway head coach Les Sabbah called for more screens in the second half as Holland found her touch, and combined with an effective full-court press, the Sea Horses kept the game competitive.
"[Holland] is definitely the most exceptional freshman I've ever had on my team," said Sabbah, who has been coaching at the school for five years. "She works extremely hard and just has a happy-go-lucky disposition."
Far Rockaway's lone graduating senior, Sandy Jean Francois, controlled the paint by hauling in 24
rebounds, but similar to Holland, could not capitalize on prime scoring opportunities until late in the game. The 6'2 center scored eight of her 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Despite the loss, Sabbah stressed his astonishment at the girls' upbeat attitude following the loss.
"They felt they played well," Sabbah said. "We played a very athletic team in a strange environment and I think it's a good first playoff experience for a team that's going through a maturation process."
The bus trip to the Park Slope area of Brooklyn tookanhour-and-a-half.
Sabbah acknowledges the overbearing pressure on Holland, who scored 38 points in the team's 58-53 win over Robert F. Wagner in the play-in game, to lead a team comprised mostly of girls who never played organized basketball before this season.
Sabbah even worried last spring about the possibility of not fielding a team due to a lack of players available. "I'm very happy with our season and I know these girls are talking about joining AAU teams during the summer or playing possibly softball or tennis to stay fit," Sabbah said. "Spring sports give them plenty of reasons to come to school."
As for Holland she plans to add more versatility to her game by strengthening her left-handed skills.