The Girls Basketball season at Flatbush officially got underway Wednesday night (10/25) at the Falcons Nest in Brooklyn, NY where the JV and Varsity teams entertained their fans in back-to-back exciting games, with the JV’s falling to North Shore by the score of 41-32 while the Varsity Girls notched the “W” by holding off a late closing run from the visiting Stars for the 36-34 victory.
As is often the case with JV squads, Head Coach Rozan Mizrahi and the Flacon fans were not quite sure what kind of performance they would get from the very young squad in their first time out in real competition, and though the girls struggled mightily to score in the first half, Flatbush did deliver in the one area Coach Mizrahi’s teams have routinely demonstrated as a trademark element – high intensity, pressure defense. Rookie Freshman Terri Elmann registered Flatbush’s first points of the game, but it was the domineering presence on defense inside that kept Flatbush close.
Freshmen Forwards Marcy Ashear, Sarah Cheney and Sarah Richter were aggressive in corralling nearly every errant North Shore shot, and Sophomore Guard Lorraine Levy led the “in-your-face” defense from her backcourt position, slowing down the Stars attack while also generating a handful of turnovers in the process. In the second Quarter, Freshman Stephanie Mugrabi hit for two outside baskets, helping get the Falcon attack on track.
The defense kept the deficit for the Falcons JV at 5 at the half, and the offense, sparked by Ashear in the second half closed the gap to two on a number of occasions. But fatigue was starting to impact the Flatbush backcourt, and a few turnovers led to fast break points for the Stars. North Shore eventually extended their lead to double digits late in the 4th Quarter, but Flatbush steeled themselves, committed to not letting the game get completely away from them.
Cheney and Ashear locked down the defense in the half-court set, and Ashear hit for a number of hoops to close the deficit to single digits. That was where it ended as the final buzzer sounded. It was a 41-32 loss, but one that showed the players’ coaches and there fans that there is much to look forward to as the JV season progresses!
The Varsity took the court next, and having had the experience of a pre-season game under their belts, they had a good idea of what would be needed to secure a victory.
Like the JV, the varsity came out in full pressure mode on defense right from the start, and in true Flatbush fashion, never relented. And it was a very good thing, too, as the offense struggled from start to finish. Nevertheless, Senior Guard Marlene Levy did manage to find a modicum of success on the offensive end, accounting for 7 of the teams 8 first quarter points (a Jacqueline Mizrachi free-throw provided point number 8). But the defense was solid, led by the backcourt pressure of Carolyn Kassin and Esther Habert, and Flatbush held the lead at the quarter break, 8-6.
Flatbush continued to dominate play, turning the Stars over or keeping them to only one shot at the basket as Mizrachi, from the post, and Junior Kayla Motovich, from the wing, pulled in every loose ball, while backcourt reserves Sarah Gammal and Raquel Oved kept up the intensive pressure on the Stars guards. But the shooting woes for Flatbush continued, both from the field and from the charity stripe. The latter area was extremely frustrating, as the Stars were in foul trouble early on, and Flatbush had many chances to extend the lead unimpeded from the free-throw line. The Falcons dominated play, but managed inly a 15-10 lead through most of the second quarter. That cushion nearly evaporated completely when North Shore struck from beyond the three-point line, then converted one-of-two freebies to cut the Falcon lead to 1. By the time the quarter came to an end, Flatbush had the lead, but only just by a slim margin, 16-14.
It looked like Flatbush might have found its offense as Kassin hit early on in the second half to extend the lead, but play soon reverted to what was on display for most of the opening half. Flatbush dominated, but could not score consistently. As a result, the door was left open for North Shore, and at 22-20, they walked through when they hit another long range three to take their first lead, 23-22. Maybe it was the wake-up call the offense needed, as Habert answered right back with the Falcon’s first three of the night to swing the lead back in Flatbush’s favor, 25-23.
In the final period, Flatbush looked to Levy to help keep order, and she responded, hitting on a huge drive to the left hand side to keep the lead at 4 points. She received help from Gammal, who hit for Flatbush’s only other 3 of the night. With two minutes to play, it looked like Flatbush would salt away the win, as they looked to hold the ball and run out the clock. It did not go so smoothly, though. The offense turned the ball over on consecutive possessions – even as the Stars were looking to foul just to beable to get the ball back. North Shore hit on a follow off an offensive rebound – one of the few the Falcons allowed all night, and cut the lead to two. They finally did send Flatbush to the line, and again Flatbush left the door open, unable to convert any of the free-throws late in the game. But the defense rose up, and fittingly denied the Stars another good shot. When the buzzer sounded, Flatbush “escaped’ with the two-point victory – the first of what they hope will be many on the new season!
NEST NOTES : The JV was led in scoring by the late game hot hand of Freshman March Ashear who hit for a game-high 14 points. Stephanie Mugrabi scored 5, Lorraine Levy and Terri Elmann each scored 4, Sarah Cheeney and Simone Dweck had a bucket apiece and Nicole Siri rounded out the scoring with one free throw.
The Varsity was led by Marlene Levy who poured in a game high 19 points. Jacqueline Mizrachi hit for 5 points, Kayla Motovich scored 4 points, Esther Habert and Sarah Gammal had a 3-pointer each, Carolyn Kassin scored 2 points.
Team was a paltry 10/21 from the free throw line for the night (though Marlene Levy accounted for most of those points as she went 7/10).
The girls look to continue to get stronger when they return to action on Monday, November 6, for their first road test of the season, a JV/varsity doubleheader at rival Central. JV game is set for a 7:30 pm tip with the varsity to follow at approximately 9 pm.
(JV Game photos courtesy of Frieda Abettan & Renee Kubie)