As the regular season comes to an end, the best teams in the city are looking to distinguish themselves as the best in their borough. Monsignor Scanlan earned the right to call itself the top girls’ basketball team in the Bronx with a victory over PSAL power Truman.
“It was very important to get this win,” said Crusaders’ senior forward Nukiya Mayo. “It was for bragging rights.”
Delphynia Sparks poured in 24 points to lead Scanlan to a 66-57 home win over the Mustangs on Feb 12. Truman came into the game off a win over rival Cardinal Spellman, but Sparks was too much to handle.
“Well she’s a scorer,” said Scanlan coach Tom Catalanotto. “She’s a tremendous player having a tremendous season. She’s playing like a college player right now.”
The Towson-bound Mayo added 14 big points of her own, including eight of Scanlan’s 14 in the third quarter. After a rather slow first half settling for midrange jumpers, Mayo put her head and shoulder down a lot more as she turned on the aggression and attacked the basket. Scanlan’s lead was trimmed to just five in the third quarter after leading by as much as 16.
“I had a talk with my coaches,” she said. “We picked each other up.”
Truman sophomore guard Dyona Davis got the rim with ease, finishing with 19 points in the game for the Mustangs. However, as productive as it was to get easy opportunities at the free throw line, they were all but easy for Truman (19-7). The Mustangs left more than 10 points at the line in their nine-point loss.
“That’s the game right there,” said Truman coach John Burke. “That’s the one thing we can work on this time of year. We don’t have time to reinvent the wheel this time of year, but we just need to get in the gym and get repetitions.”
Truman missed five free throws in the third quarter, despite winning the frame 17-14. They would head into the fourth quarter down 44-46, sticking around despite the poor free throw shooting.
Junior guard Aneisha Lyons provided Truman with two huge threes late in the game to bring the Mustangs within two, as she sized her defender up and simply rose up for the shots. But Scanlan’s ability to make free throws down the stretch was the difference. The Crusaders (16-7) scored seven of their last nine points from the charity stripe.
Scanlan point guard Chanell Williams excelled at getting to the rim and finishing over the much taller defenders patrolling the paint, finishing with nine points.
“That’s mostly what I do,” Williams said. “I don’t have much of a shot, so getting to the paint is what I do.”