True history: Mustangs top MSIT to reach first semifinal

After capturing an unprecedented win for the program, Truman coach John Burke ardently asked his players: “Do you want more?” Based on their performance Sunday, it looks like they’re hungry for it all.

A quick start right out of the gate was more than enough for No. 3 Truman to hold off No. 6 McKee/Staten Island Tech 71-56 in the PSAL Class AA girls’ basketball quarterfinals at York College on March 6. The victory put the Mustangs into the semifinals for the first time in program history where they Francis Lewis 5 p.m. March 8 at St. Francis College.

“I feel like we just made history just now, so we feel pretty good,” said star guard Dyona Davis.

Truman lost twice to Lewis this season, but a win now settles the score and give them a chance to push the historic season further.

“It’s been a long time coming, we’ve worked really hard,” Burke said. “We’ve always considered ourselves successful because we put academics first,” Burke said. “We’re really excited that if we can win, we can go out and fight another day.”

As they have all season, Truman relied on its small, short-handed roster. Davis had 22 points, a typical performance for her. Brianna Alberga led the team with 23, one of her best games of the year and a rare moment in the spotlight.

“What really matters is that we’re always going to put in everything we have,” Alberga said. “We’re always going to act like this is it. We’re going to give it all or nothing.”

Senior Jewelle McEwen also had a career day for Truman, with 18 points, nine in each half. Aneisha Lyons added nine points.

Truman (21-8) rode 17 points combined from Davis and Alberga in the first quarter to take a 21-10 lead. The Mustangs held MSIT without a point for almost five minutes, and they increased their lead to 21 at halftime.

Already up 39-18, Truman began to play sloppy in the second half, as turnovers and bad shot selection allowed the Seagulls to mount a rally. After trailing by as much as 23, a 13-4 run got MSIT within 12 before the end of the third quarter.

Stephanie Sabido got the Seagulls back in it with a game-high 25 points on five three-pointers. MSIT cut their deficit to 11 with just over six minutes left, but Davis helped deny any more comeback bids with nine points in the fourth quarter, including a 6-0 run by herself in the final two minutes to ensure the historic win. Alberga also had six points in the fourth to finish off Truman’s history day.

It still wants more.

“We are not taking this for granted,” Alberga said. “We’re just looking to make our mark.”

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