Evander Child, Frederick Douglass fall in hoops title games

Barbara Castro didn’t let the scoreboard stop her. She didn’t allow the game clock to dictate her next move, either. The Evander Childs Campus combo guard also didn’t pay attention to the crowd, which was already in celebration-mode.

She just kept playing.

With about 10 seconds left in the PSAL Class A girls’ basketball championship on March 21 and her team trailing by 23 points, Castro secured a loose ball after hitting the floor, somehow kept her dribble and then fired an outlet pass to Samantha Guzman, who converted a layup as time expired.

It wasn’t quite the buzzer-beating play Castro dreamed of. Evander Childs lost, 67-46, to McKee/Staten Island Tech at Baruch College. Still, the final play of the game was an example why the Tigers were able to compete for a championship this season.

“Basketball is my passion and despite knowing that we were going to lose with that little amount of time left, I’m always going to keep pushing,” said Castro, a senior, who scored 14 points. “I wanted to keep playing my hardest until the buzzer sounded because this season meant a lot to me. I wanted to keep a killer’s mentality until the scoreboard had zeros.”

Castro scored a layup in transition after making a steal with about four minutes left in the third quarter to tie it at 35. But that’s when MSIT (19-6) started forcing turnovers on seemingly every possession. MSIT used a 17-4 run to close out the third. The third-seeded Seagulls made 22 of 29 free throws to help seal it. Clare Mitchell scored 33 points for MSIT.

“We just got tired and I think we started defeated ourselves,” Castro said. “We could have beat them if we didn’t beat ourselves first. It was more mental than physical.”

The Tigers (19-4) played without leading scorer Julia Key, who averaged 15 points per game, because she was declared academically ineligible late this week.

Despite being without Key, the Tigers made six three-pointers in the first half and trailed 32-28 at the break. April Acosta, who finished with 14 points, made three of those treys.

“They were hitting everything at first,” MSIT coach Peter LaMarca said. “But we buckled down in the second half and only allowed 18 points.”

Still, as a No. 12 seed, the Tigers accomplished quite a bit this season, including eliminating last season’s PSAL A division city champion and top-ranked Martin Luther King in a semifinal. A big reason why, Castro said, could be attributed to never giving up.

“This was such a success for us,” Castro said. “We defeated so many previously undefeated teams. We had some great achievements.”

Maspeth 57, Frederick Douglass 42: The No. 20-seeded Lions fell behind 24-9 early in the second quarter to No. 2 Maspeth and couldn’t dig out of the hole in the PSAL Class B boys’ basketball final at Baruch. The Lions, who trailed 35-17 at the half, pulled within as 11 with 1:32 on a three-pointer by Anthony Cawthon. Maspeth (27-1) responded with an 8-0 run. Fredericks Douglass made one more surge to close the gap 49-39 midway through the fourth. Again the Argonauts answered.

“It was tough,” said Lions coach Jumel Carlos said. “We didn’t expect to be down so much. It threw us out of our rhythm. We didn’t play to the best of our ability.”

Cawthon paced the Lions (17-6) with 17 points and Alexander Dash added 10. Paolo Tamer scored 13 points to lead four players in double figures for Maspeth. Frederick Douglass, which finished third in its division, had to knock off top-seeded Eagle Academy II in the semifinals to earn the right to play for the crown.

“It shows they worked hard and believed in themselves,” Carlos said. “We faced a lot of adversity getting to the final game. It just shows us how tough of a team we are.”

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