A trip to Madison Square Garden was in Truman’s grasp, and it was oh so close to finally getting past its biggest rival in the process.
But it all slipped away in painful fashion.
Third-seeded Truman saw its 10-point lead in the third quarter disappear in the fourth and were unable to get it back in the final seconds before No. 2 Francis Lewis escaped with a 48-47 victory in the PSAL Class AA girls’ basketball semifinals on March 8 at CCNY.
“It’s really tough. We felt like this was our year,” sophomore star Dyona Davis said. “But when it came down to it, we couldn’t get a win.”
After losing twice to Francis Lewis in the regular season, Truman appeared to have finally solved the Patriots. The Mustangs used a 9-0 run in the second quarter to take a 23-13 lead at halftime, as they outworked Lewis under the basket and used a more balanced offense behind Davis.
She scored 11 of her game-high 19 points in the first half, while Maria Minaya and Brianna Alberga shut down Lewis’ top scorers inside the paint. Leading by as much as 10 midway through the third quarter, Truman took a 33-24 lead into the fourth.
The Mustangs led by eight with 6:02 left in the fourth, but their lead slipped away quickly as Lewis surged to take the lead with a 11-2 run in just 2:19. The Patriots began to lock down on defense as Truman, who has just eight players on the roster, tired.
Lewis needed a balanced effort on offense, as Taliyah Brisco fouled out in the fourth with just 11 points and center Sabrina Clement also fouled out. Sabrina Vitale and Dominique Williams combined for 13 crucial points in the final period.
Davis knotted the game at 45-45 with a 3-pointer with 1:29 left in the game. A Rebecca Oxford layup gave Lewis the lead back with 1:03 remaining. Williams hit 1-of-2 from the line and Aneisha Lyons hit two free throws to make it 48-47.
After Vitale missed two shots from the line, Truman had a chance to win it with 18.9 seconds left.
On the final sequence of the game, Lyons drove to the left corner. She then attempted to pass to Davis near the top of the key, but overthrew it into the backcourt. Green missed a fast break layup in attempt to ice it for Lewis. Davis recovered the ball, but could not get a shot off.
“We played so tough, I’m so proud of everybody,” Alberga said. “I’m so proud of this team. We came so far. We had so many obstacles, and we overcame every single one of them.”
Even with the loss, Truman had its best season in program history, as it finished at 19-4 and reached the semifinals for the first time. Truman coach John Burke sees this season as the beginning of move good things for Truman.
“We’ve done ourselves, and our school and the Bronx proud,” Burke said. “The winning and losing takes care of itself. We’re all competitors, and we’re moving in the right direction.”