New York High School: Ed Grezinsky

ESPNNewYork All-New York City girls hoops team

April, 24, 2012
It's been a wild and exciting year for girls basketball in New York City and its time to hand out some hardware. Our high school staff has collaborated to bring you its Big Apple All-City team for the past year. Here's who we saw as the best of the best.

Murry Bergtraum wins title for Tayshana

March, 17, 2012
Taylonn Murphy stood off to the side of the Madison Square Garden court, viewing the Murry Bergtraum girls basketball team celebrate a 14th straight title, with watery eyes behind his glasses.

He had just watched as the Lady Blazers ran around MSG with a black frame containing a large photo of his daughter, Tayshana "Chicken" Murphy, who was shot and killed in September. Murphy even received a plaque for the team's win, the one that would've gone to Tayshana. His daughter's life was being celebrated on a grand stage.

It all meant so much to a father who had suffered so much over the past six months.

"This is unimaginable, just unspeakable," Murphy said, struggling to find the right words. "There's so much I can say about these girls. I love them all. I just love these girls."

Murry Bergtraum honored its fallen teammate by winning its 14th straight Public Schools Athletic League Class AA title with a 56-48 win over McKee/SI Tech on Saturday. The Lady Blazers dedicated their season to Tayshana, who was one of the most promising prospects in New York City before she was killed in September outside her home.

"It's very special, just winning this one and doing it for her," said close friend and senior guard Shequana Harris. "I knew she would have been on the floor with me today and we'd be having fun, celebrating this together, and unfortunately she's not here. I know she's looking down and she's proud of us and the team."

Tayshana was primed for a big season for Murry Bergtraum after missing the previous season with a torn ACL. She worked with head coach Ed Grezinsky in the summer, even forgoing AAU so she could take summer school classes. Murphy said his daughter worked hard to be here for this moment, the chance to win a title at MSG.

When tragedy struck in the early hours of Sept. 11, it affected the Lady Blazers. Early on, they lost two games, a rarity for the school. Losing is almost allergic to Murry Bergtraum, but the loss of their teammate weighted on their minds. Doubts started creeping in about how good the Lady Blazers were going to be.

"We had to find our soul and character and I think we dug deep down inside and we believed in her and we knew she would be behind us and that's what she wanted," said Grezinsky, who called this title the best one yet because of the adversity his team faced. "Unfortunately, she can't be here but she's a big part of this. This is what she wanted. Without her, without this factor with her, I don't think we could have done this."

With Tayshana on their minds, and the big black photo frame right next to their bench, second-seeded Bergtraum (18-7) rallied in the fourth quarter and held off fifth-seeded MSIT (25-3) to continue their domination of the league. Harris led the way with 22 points, hitting clutch free throws down the stretch and earning MVP honors. Freshman Ashanae McLaughlin, who had to step into the lineup for Tayshana, had nine points as well as some clutch free throws.

"Shequana played like an All-city player, like an MVP," Grezinsky said.

During the course of the game, as Harris took her free throws, she would look over at the photo of Murphy, of her holding a basketball, and smile. She would say in her head that she was doing it for her friend, who she was meant to share this stage with. Before and after the game, she and her teammates donned shirts celebrating Tayshana's life, with the inscription "we will never forget" above a photo of their late friend.

On a day full of new memories, it's the one of Tayshana that meant the most.

"I know at Bergtraum, she would be playing on the big stage and they did it for her today," Murphy said. "She's in the building here. She's in the building."

Girls Class AA preview: Murry vs. MSIT

March, 16, 2012
WHO: No. 2 Murry Bergtraum vs. No. 4 McKee/SI Tech

WHERE: Madison Square Garden

WHEN: Saturday, 10 a.m.

WHY THIS GAME IS IMPORTANT: The Public Schools Athletic League Class AA title will be between the 13-time defending champ Murry Bergtraum and a team looking for its first title in McKee/SI Tech. The teams have not met this year.

Murry Bergtraum perhaps is not as strong as it has been in recent years but still found a way to make the final, playing its best ball at the end of the year. The Lady Blazers will try to win the game to honor their former teammate Tayshana "Chicken" Murphy, who was killed in September.

MSIT is a surprise entrant in the final as it had to upset top-seed South Shore in the semifinals to get to MSG. The Seagulls have yet to lose in New York City this season and can play with any team in New York City. A title would be a huge moment for the school and Staten Island.


Murry Bergtraum senior guard Shequana Harris
Murry Bergtraum freshman guard Ashanae McLaughlin
Murry Bergtraum senior guard Dionne Coe
MSIT senior wing Kaitlyn Astel
MSIT junior guard Kelin Walsh
MSIT junior guard Gabriella Marinaccio


Murry Bergtraum: Ed Grezinsky
MSIT: Peter LaMarca


No. 2 Murry Bergtraum (17-7)

Nov. 21: 51-44 loss vs. Banneker
Nov. 26: 61-49 loss vs. Bishop Loughlin
Nov. 30: 51-48 win vs. Truman
Dec. 2: 85-34 win vs. Boys & Girls
Dec. 9: 48-41 loss at South Shore
Dec. 12: 60-32 win at Grand Street Campus
Dec. 16: 52-48 win vs. Lincoln
Dec. 19: 50-41 loss vs. Mary Louis Academy
Dec. 21: 62-37 win at Manhattan Center
Dec. 29: 56-25 win vs. North Babylon
Jan. 4: 78-35 Win over Baruch
Jan. 6: 81-55 win at Midwood
Jan. 11: 63-42 win at Truman
Jan. 18: 49-36 win vs. JFK
Jan. 27: 71-32 win vs. Medgar Evers
Jan. 29: 53-46 loss vs. H.D. Woodson (D.C.)
Jan. 31: 51-50 win at Francis Lewis
Feb. 2: 59-43 win at Brooklyn Collegiate
Feb. 6: 70-68 win at JFK
Feb. 8: 65-30 win vs. MCSM
Feb. 10: 57-53 loss vs. Francis Lewis
Feb. 12: 53-44 loss vs. Long Island Lutheran
March 3: 60-40 win vs. Lincoln
March 10: 56-45 win vs. Francis Lewis

MSIT (25-2)

Nov. 29: 65-24 win vs. Petrides
Dec. 1: 71-56 win vs. Tottenville
Dec. 5: 60-41 win vs. New Dorp
Dec. 7: 68-29 win at CSIHS/McCown
Dec. 8: 61-40 win vs. St. Joseph Hill
Dec. 13: 81-30 win at Port Richmond
Dec. 15: 44-39 loss vs. Parkland (Penn.)
Dec. 16: 45-42 win vs. Fairfax (Va.)
Dec. 17; 38-33 win vs. Myers (Ontario)
Dec. 21: 47-42 win vs. Curtis
Dec. 22: 59-47 win vs. St. John Vila
Jan. 5: 55-33 win at Wagner
Jan. 9: 65-40 win at Petrides
Jan. 11: 68-40 win at Tottenville
Jan. 17: 57-31 win at New Dorp
Jan. 19: 68-28 win vs. CSIHS/McCown
Jan. 29: 53-25 loss vs. Red Bank Catholic
Feb. 1: 62-30 win vs. Port Richmond
Feb. 2: 65-40 win vs. Staten Island Academy
Feb. 6: 47-42 win at Curtis
Feb. 9: 56-40 win vs. Wagner
Feb. 29: 52-25 win vs. Manhattan Center
March 3: 64-51 win vs. JFK
March 10: 49-42 win vs. South Shore

Chicken's memory fueling Bergtraum

March, 15, 2012
The memory of Tayshana "Chicken" Murphy has been a guiding light for the Murry Bergtraum girls basketball team, one that has carried the team throughout the year.

As the Lady Blazers approach the Public Schools Athletic League Class AA title game on Saturday, the memory of their teammate, who was killed in September, evokes a special meaning.

"She wanted to win this championship and play in Madison Square Garden, she wanted to go get a college scholarship," Murry Bergtraum coach Ed Grezinsky. "Hopefully these girls realize that and she can't be here but they can play for her a little bit."

With that title game just a few days ago, Murry Bergtraum hopes to honor Murphy in that game she had yearned to be a part of. The Lady Blazers will try to win its 14th straight title when it plays McKee/SI Tech at MSG on Saturday at 10 a.m.

"That's my sister. My friend. Just losing her and knowing that she's with us in spirit on the floor, it means a lot to me," senior guard Shequana Harris said. "Playing for her means a lot for me. I want to win this for her. This is where she would want to be today."

Murphy was one of the top prospects in New York City before she was killed outside her home in September. She was destined to be one of the great players in the league, another standout from the Manhattan school.

Her death affected the team early on in its schedule, as the team lost its first two games, a rarity for the PSAL powerhouse. Questions surfaced about whether this team could carry on the legacy of teams past in light of the slow start.

"Knowing that she wasn't there with us physically, it bothered us a lot," Harris said. "We were very emotional at the beginning and just thinking about her. Her father was there. We knew she was there in spirit and when we lost those first couple of games, it was very sad for us. We felt like we let her down."

Harris said Murphy has been on her mind a lot recently and she sometimes loses sleep thinking about it. During games, she'll think about her former teammate, about what Murphy would have done and what Murphy would have expected out of her. She can hear the words her friend would have said in certain moments.

"She just says let's go, go out there and play and do what you got to do, because next year it's going to be me and you," Harris said. "Having those thoughts, that she's not here with me today, it bothers me a lot. Sometimes, I do get emotional. I try not to cry. I try to be the strong one."

Despite facing that adversity, Murry Bergtraum still managed to make the PSAL for its 14th straight time and enters the game as the favorite. The Lady Blazers are younger than they have been in a long time, have faced tragedy, but once again showed why there has been no team more consistent in New York City over the past decade.

In the final, they will face upstart McKee/SI Tech, making its first appearance in the title game. The Seagulls upset the top seed in the semifinals, South Shore, and now will try to pull off an even bigger upset.

"We're ready to go, we're ready to do something special," MSIT coach Peter LaMarca said. "I just believe it. This group of kids, they've come together and believed in each other. Never quit and never give up and they have no fear. You can't measure that."

Former Bergtraum volunteer asst. indicted

March, 14, 2012
Kerbet Dixon, a former Murry Bergtraum girls basketball volunteer assistant coach, was indicted Monday in Queens Criminal Court.

The 48-year-old allegedly sexually assaulted three family members, according to Kevin Ryan, a spokesman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Dixon has an arraignment date on April 6 at Queens Supreme Court.

Dixon, the father of former Connecticut guard Lorin Dixon and current St. Bonaventure sophomore guard CeCe Dixon, was arrested in June on charges of rape, criminal sex act and aggravated sex abuse.

According to the criminal complaint, the alleged actions happened from June 1, 2008, to Sept. 30, 2010. The criminal complaint states that the alleged victims were each under the age of 15 at the time of the alleged actions and one mother alleged that her daughter was between five and seven.

Bail in each case was set at $10,000 and Dixon posted each, according to Ryan.

Murry Bergtraum head coach Ed Grezinsky, who coached CeCe Dixon for three years at the Manhattan school, spoke positively about Dixon at the time of his arrest. He said that Dixon announced the lineups before games and would film the contests.

"He's a highly moral guy and he's very good with the kids and he's respected by the whole team," Grezinsky previously said. "His character is impeccable and I would vouch for him. He has very high standards and he's a good guy and never had any issues. It was only good stuff with the kids and they really liked him. He has the respect of everybody."

PSAL semifinals recaps

March, 11, 2012
The championship matchups in the Public Schools Athletic League Class AA tournaments are set as Jefferson will face Boys & Girls on the boys side and Murry Bergtraum will meet McKee/SI Tech on the girls side. While you can read about Boys' win over Lincoln here, here's what happened in the other three games.

No. 2 Murry Bergtraum 56, No. 6 Francis Lewis 48: Murry Bergtraum is headed back to Madison Square Garden and will go for its 14th consecutive PSAL city championship after beating Francis Lewis, 56-48, at St. John’s University in Queens on Saturday.

This is the first time that Bergtraum is even going in as the No. 2 seed since 2003. Its unusual underdog status is something head coach Ed Grezinsky said the team has used for motivation.

“We lost (Tayshana “Chicken” Murphy), we lost our first two games of the season and nobody expected us to win,” Grezinsky said. “Nobody expected us to get to the Garden, nobody even expected us to get to the semifinals.”

Bergtraum dominated for most of the game, building up an 18-point lead by the third quarter. Francis Lewis fought back and brought the game back to within six, but freshman Ashanae McLaughlin made big plays to stop the rally. Saturday’s game wasn’t an easy one for McLaughlin to play in as she lost her uncle, James Smith, last Thursday.

“It’s been hard, McLaughlin said. “I was crying, crying, crying all week. Even this morning I was crying. But I was ready for this game. With everything we’ve been through this year already we’ve learned how to handle the emotional part of the game.”

Shequana Harris had 20 points, five assists, and three steals for Bergtraum while McLaughlin had 15 points, six rebounds, and an assist.

No. 4 MSIT 49, No. 1 South Shore 42: Before the game started, MSIT’s star player Kaitlyn Astel went up to Gabriella Marinaccio and told her that if they won, it would be because of her.

At the time, that made Marinaccio nervous, but she said she wasn’t nervous at all when she drained a pair of three’s that gave MSIT the lead with just 1:06 to play en route to a 49-42 victory.

“Confidence is a word that you don’t normally associate with me,” Marinaccio joked. “But I was feeling so good, I had the crowd behind me, it was like the play was in slow-mo. I just knew it was going it. This is the greatest feeling of my life.”

Marinaccio finished the game with 14 points including four three-point shots. She started her hot shooting with a three in the second quarter that gave MSIT its first lead.

The victory is vindication for MSIT’s head coach Peter LaMarca, who felt snubbed by the PSAL at the start of the season for being left out of the AA division.

No. 1 Jefferson 72, No. 4 Wings 68: In the run to the final, Jefferso head coach Bud Pollard has said that Jaquan Lynch is the team’s MVP and not its star player, Thaddeus Hall, who gets all of the attention.

“When Hall wasn’t here in the beginning of the year, Son Son (Lynch) carried us and then when Thaddeus came back he deferred to him,” Pollard explained. “A lot of kids wouldn’t do that. They won’t go from being Batman to being Robin.”

It was fitting then, in the final seconds of a close game, when Lynch stole the ball instead of driving it to the net himself he instead passed the ball to Hall who slammed it down to put the finishing touch on a 72-68 victory

Wings held a slim 38-34 lead at halftime and had a 68-64 lead with just a minute left. Nazai Stokes hit a three to put Jefferson down just one point before Hall drove the lane and score on a three-point play to take the late lead.

Hall finished the game with 22 points and Lynch had 16 including 12 in the second half. Justin Jenkins finished with 23 for Wings.

PSAL girls quarterfinals recap

March, 3, 2012
The Public Schools Athletic League is down to its final four teams in the girls Class AA tournament after the quarterfinals on Saturday. South Shore, Murry Bergtraum, McKee/SI Tech and Francis Lewis are the last four teams left after winning on Saturday at Hunter College. Here are the highlights from the game.

No. 1 South Shore 46, No. 9 Midwood 30: The top-seeded Lady Vikings received a scare from Midwood but used a 13-0 run in the final minutes to grab the 46-30 win. South Shore led 33-30 with about four minutes left before holding Midwood scoreless the rest of the way.

"We only gave up 30 points and clamped down at the end of the game but I thought we should have been much better on defense," South Shore coach Anwar Gladden said. "We have to get back and be better on the defensive end of the court."

Aaliyah Cooley led South Shore (21-5) with 21 points and had three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and five in the game. Midwood fell to (9-15) in the loss and South Shore will feet fourth-seeded McKee/SI Tech in the semifinals.

"We were having trouble scoring in the halfcourt and (Cooley) knocked down some big shots," Gladden said.

No. 2 Murry Bergtraum 60, No. 7 Lincoln 40: Murry Bergtraum started its quest for a 14th straight PSAL title on a great foot as it handled Lincoln. The Lady Blazers (16-7) were up 19-2 after the first quarter and never looked back against Lincoln (12-10).

"It was good to see them come out like that," head coach Ed Grezinsky said.

Murry Bergtraum received a big game from freshman Ashanae Mclaughlin, who had 16 points, while senior Shequana Harris added 12. Grezinsky said he needs someone to step up each game and today his freshman star was able to do that for him

The Lady Blazers now head to the semifinals where they will face Francis Lewis, a team that beat them last time out. The teams split the season series.

"They're a very good team and they're gelling," Grezinsky said. "They're a tough opponent and they will be a tough game for us."

No. 4 McKee/SI Tech 64, No. 5 JFK 51: McKee/SI Tech used an incredible performance from his backcourt of Kaityln Astel and Kelin Walsh as the two combined for 62 of his team's 64 points in the Seagulls' win. Walsh had 33 points while Astel had 29.

"They were unbelievable together, words can't even describe it," MSIT coach Peter LaMarca said. "Walsh had 15 points in the second quarter which was all of our points."

MSIT (24-2) led JFK (17-11) by about seven to 12 points for most of the game and JFK cut it to three late but MSIT held them off. The Seagulls now will meet top-seeded South Shore in the semifinals. The teams did not play each other this season.

"I've kind of always believed from the beginning we could be a very good team," LaMarca said. "We have strong senior leadership. Astel is a star and Walsh has come back from ACL surgery to be one of the best point guards in the city. I don't think we're sneaking up on people."

No. 6 Francis Lewis 47, No. 3 Truman 34: Francis Lewis averaged two regular season losses to Truman by defeating the Lady Mustangs in the quarterfinals. The game was tied 17-17 at the half and Francis Lewis (14-9) took control in the second half to best Truman (20-7).

"Defensively, we were able to do more of what we wanted to do," coach Stephen Tsai said.

Tsai credited the play of Sherice Gayle, a senior forward/center who only started playing at the end of the year and had a big effect on Saturday's game. Francis Lewis now will meet Murry Bergtraum in the semifinals and the Lady Patriots won the last meeting between the two.

"Our girls had a lot of ups and downs this season," Tsai said. "We lost to Truman twice and I think the girls wanted to prove a point to get (to the semifinals)."

Murry Bergtraum's Harris to Charlotte

October, 12, 2011
During one of the toughest times of Murry Bergtraum senior guard Shequana Harris' life, the Charlotte women's basketball coaching staff came to her side.

As Harris struggled to cope with the loss of her teammate, Tayshana Murphy, who was shot and killed in September, a coaching staff that had just started recruiting her in July flew up to New York City to check in with Murphy.

"They came up for a day to try to take my mind off things and just come and see me and support me," Harris said of Charlotte coach Cara Consuegra and an assistant coach visiting her. "It meant a lot to me. Not many coaches do that for you and I really appreciated that."

It's that extra mile that Charlotte went to try and secure Harris that helped the 49ers land her as she verbally committed to the school Tuesday. She's a three-star recruit according to ESPN HoopGurlz and she chose the 49ers over James Madison and Providence.

While Charlotte had only been recruiting Harris for a few months, Harris noticed right away how much the 49ers wanted to add her to their future roster.

"You would have thought they were there for a while they amount they checked in on me and were calling me," Harris said.

Ultimately, there was a litany of reasons why Harris decided to head down to Charlotte. She felt comfortable with the coaching staff and said it felt like family on her coaching visit. The staff constantly supported her during the summer, she added.

Harris, who can play both guard positions, also said she liked the schools up-tempo style of play, how it offers a sports marketing major that she is going to pursue and she also spoke positively about the city of Charlotte. She took a visit there two weeks ago and raved about it. Harris currently lives in the Bronx.

"I loved it," Harris said. "The city and the area, it's not too overwhelmed, there isn't so much traffic like New York City. There's still a lot to do and it will keep you occupied."

Murry Bergtraum coach Ed Grezinsky said he thinks Harris will do "very good" at Charlotte and said she's a combo player who is athletic, quick, can go to the hoop well and is a good defender. He said that when Harris played well last season the team would win, while the Lady Blazers struggled when Harris had off games. She will be one of the key players who tries to help Murry Bergtraum defend its Public Schools Athletic League Class "AA" title this season.

"She has a lot of upside and a lot of good basketball ahead for her," Grezinsky said.

When it came to making her decision, Harris said she knew that Charlotte had one scholarship left but they were interested in her and another player. She put some more time and thought into what she wanted to do and eventually realized that Charlotte was the school she wanted to attend.

"It's very exciting," Harris said. "It's a lot of pressure off me and it's great to be a part of coach Consuegra's first recruiting class."

CHSAA imposes ban on playing PSAL teams

June, 10, 2011
In a move that could potentially alter the New York City basketball scene in a dramatic way, the CHSAA boys basketball league and Brooklyn/Queens girls division has asked its teams to delay scheduling any games or scrimmages against Public Schools Athletic League teams, according to boys Archdiocese of New York President Rich Tricario and girls Brooklyn/Queens President Denise Hillig.

The embargo on games between the two leagues is the result of the PSAL violating the New York State Federation rules by participating in an unsanctioned postseason tournament.

The New York Post first reported the news.

“Every action has a reaction,” Tricario said. “That’s where we are right now. It’s not in my hands but it’s with the state associations’ hands. We’re waiting to hear from the PSAL. Up until we do, our teams will not participate against the PSAL teams.”

Added Hillig: “There are some great games between the catholic league and public school teams. I’m sure it will have a big effect.”

The issue at hand is the participation of the PSAL in the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational, a postseason tournament with top teams in the country. This season marked the first time the PSAL had ever been involved with the tournament.

According to Tricario, teams are only allowed by Federation guidelines to participate in one postseason tournament, which usually starts with their divisional tournaments and would end with the State Federation Tournament. The PSAL, which sent its boy champion, Boys & Girls, and girls champion, Murry Bergtraum, violated the commissioner of education’s rules by allowing its teams to participate.

In an e-mail to in March, New York City Department of Education spokesperson Margie Feinberg said the PSAL evaluated the schools’ request to participate and felt it would be a good experience for them to play in the tournament. Murry Bergtraum coach Ed Grezinsky said he did not request to play in the tournament, but was told the city champion would go.

The PSAL has not received a letter yet from the catholic league about the hold up in games, Feinberg said, while the CHSAA awaits news from them and the State Federation.

PSAL director Donald Douglas has set-up a conference call at some point next week with representatives from the four associations that make up the federation, according to St. Anthony's (Long Island) athletic director and Federation President Don Buckley. The four associations are the PSAL, CHSAA, New York State Public High School Athletic Association and New York State Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association.

NYSPHSAA Executive Director Nina Van Erk, whose league does not include New York City schools, said she is concerned that the tournament violated the commissioner's regulations but is going to wait on until after the phone call before reacting.

“We’re waiting for the PSAL to explain to us why they broke the commissioner’s regulations and federation rules,” Tricario said. “Do they continue to do it in the future, because then we’re going to have problems. If they said it was a mistake and it won’t happen again, then we’ll change our stance.

“We’d have to be convinced.”

While the holding off scheduling games is not permanent, the ban could take away some of the most-anticipated games of the season. Teams from the PSAL and CHSAA often mix it up in scrimmages, non-league games as well as the Big Apple Basketball PSAL vs. CHSAA Challenge.

Big games from last season included Christ the King vs. Thomas Jefferson and Lincoln vs. St. Raymond for boys, while South Shore vs. Mary Louis Academy and Murry Bergtraum vs. Moore Catholic were top girls game.

Thomas Jefferson boys coach Lawrence Pollard, whose team was scheduled to host Christ the King this upcoming season and faced several CHSAA teams last season, got the call from Royals head coach Joe Arbitello on Thursday that their two-game series is in jeopardy.

Pollard and Cardozo boys coach Ron Naclerio both believe this potential movie will hurt the New York City basketball scene. Naclerio wondered whether the transferring of players from catholic schools to public schools is a factor and said that it helps both leagues that their teams mix it up often.

“I’m so disappointed there might be a sanction,” Naclerio said. “I would like to think that cooler heads would prevail. Make it like a slap on the wrist and don’t let it happen again. Tell them that if they want to get involved in something, they better make sure that it’s OK with them and it doesn’t happen again.”

As the PSAL coaches question the decision, CHSAA coaches aren’t speaking out, but reinforcing the notion that schools and teams have to respect the guidelines.

“Whatever they decide we have to do and we have to follow the rules,” Bishop Loughlin coach Ed Gonzalez said. “It’s unfortunate. There are a lot of good PSAL teams. Rules have to be adhered to and follow. Consequences will happen that hurts everyone involved.”

Bergtraum's Reese commits to Temple

May, 2, 2011
Before Murry Bergtraum guard/forward Shaniqua Reese had an official scholarship offer from Temple, her coach Ed Grezinsky told the senior that if things worked out right, he thought the Owls would be a good fit for her.

After an official visit to the Pennsylvania-based school, and receiving an offer to come play for it next season, Reese didn’t have much trouble coming to the same conclusion, verbally committing to the Owls on Saturday. She will sign her National Letter of Intent as soon as the paperwork comes in, Grezinky said.

“I liked the program and the program and is really solid and really determined and looking forward to doing big things and the coaching staff is really cool,” Reese said. “I would go there and I would learn a lot. Also, the team likes to work hard. I think I’ll fit right in.”

After bouncing around to different schools her first three years of high school, as she attended Thomas Jefferson in Brooklyn, Oak Hill Academy in Virginia and the now-closed St. Michael Academy in Manhattan, Reese came to Murry Bergtraum this year and helped the team win its 13th straight Public Schools Athletic League Class AA title.

While Temple is recruiting her as a guard, she played forward this year for the Lady Blazers to help the team. Grezinsky said the squad was overstocked with guards and didn’t have post players, so they used Reese to fill the void. Grezinsky said Reese averaged 15 rebounds a game and Reese believes the position change helped her become more athletic.

“She was like the missing piece to the puzzle,” Grezinsky said. “We lost four starters from last year and having somebody as athletic as her was really helping us. She knew we needed her to be able to win.”

Despite playing for a prestigious New York City program like Murry Bergtraum, Reese did not have any scholarship offers until Temple offered over the weekend. She described her recruiting process as kind of slow, saying she didn’t get to go see many schools and schools didn’t get to see her because of their schedules.

Grezinsky said there had been some contact with schools like Farleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, LIU and Penn State, but nothing concrete ever arose before the Owls came into the fold. Grezinsky said Temple, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament this past season, is the kind of program that would be the perfect for Reese.

Reese, who lives in Crown Heights, recalled playing pickup basketball during her official visit and that gave her a family feeling at the school, which she appreciated. She plans to major in broadcast journalism.

“I’m excited and I think I will develop there not just as an athlete but as a student,” Reese said. “My main thing is to focus and do what I have to do to help the team do good things. I think that I will go there and learn a lot and they want me to get better.”

Boys & Girls, Bergtraum ready for Rise

March, 31, 2011
Boys & Girls and Murry Bergtraum are onto their second lives.

Sure, both teams ultimately fell short of their quest to win the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions last weekend in Albany, losing games that normally would’ve ended their season.

This season, though, the Public Schools Athletic League champs have something to look forward to following their state tournament losses: the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational.

“We got another opportunity to go out and play somebody,” Murry Bergtraum head coach Ed Grezinsky said. “That’s the way we are looking forward to it.”

After falling short of state titles, the PSAL champions are hoping to end their seasons with one last title when they play in the ESPN Rise national tournament, which begins Thursday at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda, Md. The PSAL is entering teams in the tournament for the first time in the tournament’s three years.

Boys & Girls, seeded fifth, meets No. 4 Winter Park (Fl.) in the boys quarterfinals Thursday at 6 p.m. Murry Bergtraum, seeded third, faces No. 2 Hollywood Christian (Fl.) in the girls semifinals Friday at 1 p.m.

“We’re just really fortunate and blessed to still playing when everybody else is done and to be playing against the best teams in the country and to actually be among some of the best teams in the country it’s just something special,” Boys & Girls coach Ruth Lovelace said. “My kids are real excited about playing and it’s a television game. We’re looking forward to it.”

According to New York City Department of Education spokesperson Margie Feinberg, the PSAL felt it would be a good experience for their champs to participate in the tournament. Feinberg said the league had not been invited to join in the past.

A committee selected teams based on the school’s performance and a team’s ranking in the Powerade Fab 50 rankings. Boys & Girls is currently No. 44 with a 24-7 record while Murry Bergtraum is not ranked with a 23-4 record.All high schools participating must be four-year schools and have the permission of their league to partake.

Boys & Girls enters the tournament off a loss to Mount Vernon in the Federation tournament semifinals. The Kangaroos also enter the tournament shorthanded after losing seven players recently for academic reasons, including a starter and one of top reserves.

Lovelace said her team understands the task at hand and is embracing the chance to play on national television against highly touted foes. Boys & Girls already played Winter Park this season, coming away with an 81-79 on Jan. 22.

“It’s been a special season for us,” Lovelace said. “We’re trying to end on a real high note.”

For the Lady Blazers of Murry Bergtraum, Grezinsky wants to see how his team will bounce back from its loss in the Federation title game to Nazareth. He said the lack of live scouting of his opponents will make this tournament a challenge, but his squad is excited to play against some of the country’s best teams.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase your team and the PSAL and represent the city,” Grezinsky said. “And you’re competing against other teams from other parts of the country.
For the first time, two teams from the Public Schools Athletic Leagues will participate in the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational. PSAL Class “AA” boys champs Boys & Girls and girls champs Murry Bergtraum will represent New York City. The tournament is run from March 31-April 2 at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda, MD.

"After evaluating the schools' request to participate, we felt it would be a good experience for the schools," New York City Department of Education spokesperson Margie Feinberg said on behalf of the PSAL. "We were not invited in the past."

Boys & Girls, which is trying to win the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions, received the No. 5 seed in the bracket with a 23-6 record and will meet No. 4 Winter Park (Fla.) on March 31 at 4 p.m.. The Kangaroos are ranked 22nd nationally by ESPN Rise’s Fab 50 rankings. The two teams have already met this year, with the Kangaroos pulling out the 81-79 victory. Winter Park is led by ESPNU’s top-ranked senior Austin Rivers.

“I think it’s wonderful and it’s great for the PSAL,” Boys & Girls head coach Ruth Lovelace said. “We feel that we play in one of the best conferences in the country so to be representing our very tough conference and to represent New York City is just great.”

“We’re very excited. We have a national schedule all year long. This tournament is getting the top eight teams and to be considered a part of it is a great feeling.

Murry Bergtraum, who is also trying to win the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions, is seeded third. The Lady Blazers have won 13 straight PSAL titles are trying to win their sixth tournament of champions this weekend. They will meet second-seeded Hollywood Christian, whose average margin of victory was 61.7 points this year. The squads face off on April 1 at 1 p.m.

“It’s a great honor we are looking forward to it,” Murry Bergtraum coach Ed Grezinsky said. “It’s a great opportunity to show what we can do against good competition and the kids are looking forward to it.”

A selection committee chose the tournament teams based on the team’s seasons and their ranking in the ESPN Fab 50. To be eligible, schools must be four-year high school and the PSAL must give the schools permission to participate.

All games will be aired on the ESPN family of networks.
Ed Grezinsky can’t remember any of his Murry Bergtraum team that got as little respect as this current group. All season, the Lady Blazers have had this stigma about them that they aren’t as talented or as good as any Grezinsky’s previous 12 title teams.

It only fueled the Lady Blazers proverbial fire, resulting a 13th city championship.

“They like being the underdog and they like being disrespected,” Grezinsky said. “I think they played with a chip on their shoulder.”

Now, as the Lady Blazers once again head upstate to the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions in Albany, Murry Bergtraum will once again try and embrace its role as the underdog as it looks to capture its sixth state title. The Lady Blazers meet Cicero-North Syracuse on Saturday at 2 p.m. and the winner meets Nazareth in the Class “AA” final Sunday.

“We’re not the favorites, but that’s OK,” Grezinsky said. “We’ve been able to do it all year. It just goes with the rest of the season.”

After Murry Bergtraum lost four starters from last year’s title team and had to try and incorporate a new crop of players into the mix, 2010-11 seemed like the year that the Lady Blazers streak of 12 straight Public Schools Athletic League titles would come to a end. While the Lady Blazers were still pegged to be among the best in the city, there was this uncertainty factor of how truly good the squad would be.

Other teams were considered to be more talented or have the right nucleus to take down Murry, but that team never emerged within New York City. While the Lady Blazers slipped up a few times against out-of-state competition, they finished undefeated in PSAL play and once again won the title with a 56-48 victory on March 13 against a South Shore team considered to have the most talent in the PSAL.

“I guess when you’re on top people want to knock you down and that’s the nature of the game and it makes it even better when you win and people are rooting against and want you to lose,” Grezinsky said. “It’s even a better feeling when you win and kind of vindicate yourself and shut some people up.”

In the state tournament, the Lady Blazers face an uphill battle. Their semifinal opponent, Cicero-North Syracuse, is ranked 49th in the country by the Powerade Fab 50 ESPN Rise rankings and features the No. 1 junior in the country in UConn-bound forward Brenna Stewart.

In the final potentially awaits Nazareth, ranked 19th by ESPN Rise and No. 1 in New York City by The Lady Blazers and Lady Kingsmen have not played against each other this season, but Nazareth features a deep and talented roster laden with future Division-I players.

To win a title, Murry Bergtraum must be at its best and handle adversity. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the Lady Blazers overcame the odds.

“My feels is we have nothing to lose,” Grezinsky said. “As far as I’m concerned we already accomplished everything we set out for this year. It’s always nice to win upstate. We’re going to go up there and play hard and I’ve seen this team (Cicero-North Syracuse), we knew what they can do, and we’re going to give it our best shot.”
NEW YORK --When the Manhattan Center for Science & Math girls basketball team looks back on its loss against Murry Bergtraum Saturday, there are sure to be some shudders when the Lady Rams think of Cori Coleman.

First, Murry Bergtraum’s senior guard nailed a back-breaking 3 to stop a Manhattan Center run and boost the Lady Rams lead to five with three minutes left. Then, she literally stole the game from Manhattan Center with a nifty steal that led to a score on the other end that all but deflated the Rams.

“I wasn’t even going to go for it, I had four fouls,” Coleman said. “I wanted to keep playing defense until the buzzer sounded because I didn’t want to give up any 3’s, any shots like that.”

Coleman’s clutch 3-pointer and key defensive play helped No. 1 Murry Bergtraum fight off upset-minded No. 9 Manhattan Center, 65-52, in the quarterfinals of the Public Schools Athletic League Girls “AA” quarterfinals Saturday at Hunter College in Manhattan. Coleman’s 3 jumpstarted a 18-7 run to end the game.

Murry Bergtraum (20-3) will face No. 4 John F. Kennedy in the semifinals Tuesday.

“They wanted to come out and prove to everyone that they’re still Manhattan Center,” Coleman said. “We had to prove to everyone that we’re still Bergtraum and we’re not going anywhere because everyone in the crowd was here to see us lose.”

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Bergtraum led the whole game, but could never put away the pesky Lady Rams (11-14). The same script kept playing itself over and over. Manhattan Center would cut the lead to two baskets and Murry would then rebuild its lead to near double digits.

In the fourth quarter, Manhattan finally went on an extended run to slice the lead to 47-45 with 3:29 left. Murry Bergtraum head coach Ed Grezinsky called a timeout to tell his time that it was time to rise to the occasion and show the PSAL what they are made of.

Out of that timeout, Murry hit its next three shots to take a 55-47 lead and had its lead back to double digits shortly after. After hitting 10-of-12 free throws in the final two minutes, the Lady Blazers were onto the semifinals. This was the third time the Lady Blazers bested the Lady Rams this season.

“I think over time every team gets better as well. I think they got a lot better and actually were ready to play us,” Murry Bergtraum leading scorer Shequana Harris said. “They came out ready to play and we matched their intensity and we did our thing and we beat them.”

TURNING POINT: Out of that timeout, Grzinsky specifically called a play to free up Coleman for a shot. Earlier this season, Coleman nailed a big 3-point shot to sent a game against St. Peter’s to overtime, a game Murry Bergtraum would win. She had similar luck Saturday, hitting the shot to boost Murry’s lead to 50-45.

On the other end, she intercepted an errant pass and that steal led to a jumpshot by Ashley Gomez. On Murry’s next possession, Harris hit another huge 3 and suddenly Murry led 55-47 with little time remaining.

“I have to pick up my intensity if I want to see our team win and be successful,” Coleman said. “I know that my teammates look up to me on the court even if I’m having a bad game, they’re still behind me, and they have great intensity. I have to match their intensity.”

STAR OF THE GAME: Harris led all scorers with 25 points. She flashed her great jump shot and nailed a dagger late that helped seal the game. She was also 4-of-4 from the free-throw line in the final minutes.

“When I play against Manhattan Center, I’m always coming out hard,” Harris said. “I was in a groove, I felt comfortable and I kept shooting.’

BIGGEST SURPRISE: This game turned out to be the highlight of the quarterfinals. While the No. 1 v No. 9 game wasn’t the one fans circled as the game to pique their interests, two of the other games were blowout and another game was a sloppy effort by both teams. This game had a lively crowd that chanted, got loud and almost gave the Lady Rams a home-court advantage.

QUOTE OF THE GAME: “People out there don’t think we’ll be able to make it back because they actually say we’re the weakest Bergtraum team. That’s what really motivates us more.”--Harris

UP NEXT: Murry Bergtraum faces No. 4 John F. Kennedy in the semifinals. It’s the third time these two teams will meet this season.

Murray Bergtraum beats JFK, 67-58

December, 16, 2010
BRONX -- Murray Bergtraum guard Ashley Gomez said every time her team plays John F. Kennedy she expects a fight, and her team certainly got one on Wednesday night. No. 3 Bergtraum handed No. 10 JFK its first PSAL loss of the season, 67-58, after host JFK kept the Lady Blazers reeling most of the game.

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: The Lady Blazers were down by 11 in the first quarter but immediately ran off an 11-point run across the end of the first into the second quarter that tied the score at 26. Bergtraum (5-0) was a completely different team in the second half -- one that forced turnovers when it mattered, controlled the boards and made big shots while JFK’s Shaquaya Daniels tried to single-handedly keep her team in the game.

“You learn a lot about your team,” Bergtraum coach Ed Grezinsky said about the game. “It shows a lot of character. I think this game showed a lot of character.”

Daniels scored 14 of her 19 points in the second half when JFK (5-4) struggled to score. But Bergtraum shut down everything else. JFK’s Shannice Bell hit three three-pointers in the first quarter but Bergtraum closed her out after halftime.

“I don’t think Coach knew about her,” Gomez said. “I think we were shocked at first but at halftime we addressed that.

TURNING POINT: Shaequana Harris struggled with her ball handling early and couldn’t find her shot but the junior guard came up huge when it mattered for Bergtraum. After Gomez scored on an and-one layup, Harris nailed a three-pointer from the left elbow that capped a 6-0 run and gave Bergtraum a 54-49 lead, its largest of the game at that point, with 6:32 left to play. JFK managed just three field goals for the rest of the game.

STAR OF THE GAME: Wherever there was a loose ball, Bergtraum’s Shaniqua Reese was there. The senior, who played guard at Jefferson for two years and then at Oak Hill Academy last year, flourished at the forward position. She finished with 12 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks. Reese, drawing looks from Penn State and Seton Hall, was the main roadblock between the basket and JFK’s Daniels and fed teammate Cori Coleman under the basket to extend Bergtraum’s lead to 58-53.

“(Grezinsky) needs me to play the forward,” she said. “I can do it. It’s not that hard.”

Monae Abrams also helped the Lady Blazers under the basket, finishing with 14 points and seven boards.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: When it seemed that Bergtraum would take control, Daniels refused to let her team go quietly. Spinning like a top in the paint, the diminutive guard scored 14 of her team’s 22 second-half points.

“It’s harsh,” Daniels said of the loss. “Honestly I thought we had it.”

QUOTE of the Day: “Unfortunately, the first half, I wish the game was over right there. Ten minutes. Game over.” – JFK coach O’Neil Glenn.

“I bet any team in New York City we beat if we play like that,” he said later.

WHAT’S NEXT: Bergtraum, winners of the last 12 PSAL city championships, takes its undefeated record back home against Truman, Dec. 20. JFK continues a tough week of games, playing Paterson, New Jersey’s John F. Kennedy Saturday and St. Anthony’s on Sunday.