New York High School: Mary Louis

The streak lives on. For the 14th straight year, Murry Bergtraum won the Public Schools Athletic League Class AA title. That advances it to the State Federation semifinals, where it will meet Nazareth, who bested it for the title last season. Here's this week's poll.

1. Nazareth (18-3)/(LW: 1): Nazareth will meet Murry Bergtraum in the semifinals, a game the Lady Kingsmen won last year for the State Federation title.

2. Christ the King (15-14)/(LW: 2): Christ the King's record may seem mediocre, but the Royals had wins over nationally ranked opponents this year.

3. Moore Catholic (22-6)/(LW: 3): Moore Catholic, along with McKee/SI Tech, showed that Staten Island was one of the toughest boroughs this season.

4. Bishop Ford (22-6)/(LW: 4): Bishop Ford had a successful season despite dropping two winnable games against Christ the King and Moore Catholic to end the season.

5. Molloy (19-10)/(LW: 5): Molloy won the State Federation Class A title last season and had success in the CHSAA Class AA tournament this year, reaching the semifinals.

6. Murry Bergtraum (18-7)/(LW: 6): It's now 14 straight years that Murry Bergtraum has won the PSAL title, one of the most amazing feats in New York City history.

7. Bishop Loughlin (15-12)/(LW: 7): Loughlin will play Rochester East in the semifinals of the State Federation tournament this week.

8. McKee/SI Tech (25-3)/(LW: 8): MSIT led Murry Bergtraum in the fourth quarter but could not hold on and lost a tough one in its first title game appearance.

9. South Shore (21-6)/(LW: 9): South Shore has to think it blew an opportunity as the top seed by not advancing to the PSAL final.

10. Mary Louis (13-17)/(LW: 10): Another team with a mediocre record, but Mary Louis could compete with any team in New York City this year.

Girls basketball poll: March 12

March, 12, 2012
For the second straight year, Nazareth won the CHSAA Class AA State title, this team defeating Moore Catholic. It will head to Albany looking to defend its State Federation title. In the PSAL, Murry Bergtraum will try to win its 14th straight title as it faces McKee/SI Tech, which upset South Shore in the final.

1. Nazareth (18-3)/(LW: 1): Nazareth exacted revenge on Christ the King in the semifinals and then took down Moore Catholic easily in the final for its second straight championship.

2. Christ the King (15-14)/(LW: 2): Christ the King fell in the State semifinals to Nazareth, but ended the season as the Brooklyn/Queens Division I tournament champion.

3. Moore Catholic (22-6)/(LW: 6): Moore Catholic moves up three spots after besting Bishop Ford and Molloy in the State tournament, before falling to Nazareth in the final.

4. Bishop Ford (22-6)/(LW: 3): Bishop Ford stumbled at the end of the year, losing its final two games of the season as it dropped games to Christ the King and Moore Catholic.

5. Molloy (19-10)/(LW: 4): Molloy had a huge upset against St. Anthony's in the quarterfinals but fell to Moore Catholic for the second time this season in the semfinals.

6. Murry Bergtraum (17-7)/(LW: 7): For the 14th straight year, Murry Bergtraum will be playing for the PSAL title after defeating Francis Lewis in the semifinals.

7. Bishop Loughlin (15-12)/(LW: 9): Loughlin had a perfect 4-0 week to win the Class A City title and the Class A State title over Mary Louis.

8. McKee/SI Tech (25-2)/(LW: 8): MSIT pulled the upset of the weekend as it defeated top seed, South Shore, in the semifinals, to advance to Madison Square Garden.

9. South Shore (21-6)/(LW: 5): South Shore seemed prime to potentially end Bergtraum's run atop the PSAL but lost in the semifinals to MSIT.

10. Mary Louis (13-17)/(LW: Unranked): Mary Louis returns to the poll after advancing to the Class A City title game and Class A State title game, although it lost both times.

Bishop Loughlin wins Class A City title

March, 7, 2012
The Bishop Loughlin girls basketball team has been playing this season for former teammate Tayshana "Chicken" Murphy, who was killed in September, and they honored her in a grand way on Wednesday night.

The Lady Lions won the girls CHSAA Class A City title with a 66-62 win in overtime over Mary Louis Academy. Bishop Loughlin now advances to the Class A State tournament, where it will be the top seed from New York City and face Holy Trinity on Friday in the semifinals.

"We really did it for the one we lost, Tayshana "Chicken" Murphy," Bishop Loughlin coach Kasim Alston said. "Everyone is playing for her and we lost some games during the year but we did it for her. These girls really fought and pulled it together."

Murphy, a guard who was at Murry Bergtraum when she was killed, had been at Bishop Loughlin for her freshman year and part of her sophomore year. Alston was her godfather and the girls on the team were familiar with Murphy, who was one of the top prospects in New York City. She was killed on Sept. 11 outside her home.

"I have a daughter who plays and everyone was extremely close to Chicken," Alston said. "She played with of these girls when she came here."

Loughlin (13-12) trailed after Mary Louis (12-16) went ahead on a 3-pointer late, but Loughlin quickly retook the lead before Mary Louis hit a free throw to force overtime. The Lady Lions controlled the game in overtime. Imani Tate had 23 for Loughlin while Aliyah Alston added 16. Mary Louis joins Loughlin in the State tournament and will face Sacred Heart.

Loughlin's victory put the icing on the cake for a long road to glory for the Lady Lions. The squad was in Class B before moving up to Class A, where it didn't win a game, and then making the Class A playoffs last year. Finally, the Lady Lions were able to climb the mountain.

"We can't wait to get into the gym and go to work," Alston said. "We can't wait to play Friday."

Rapid Reaction: CHSAA Girls: Nazareth 63, Mary Louis 45

March, 12, 2011
NEW YORK – Nazareth’s head coach Apache Paschall has a lot of talented players on his team that are graduating after this season, but there is one player in the league that he’s going to miss that isn’t even on his team – Mary Louis Academy’s Karin Robinson.

“It was a pleasure watching that kid play for five or six years,” Paschall said of Robinson. “I wish she had one more year just so I can watch her play another year of basketball.”

Robinson showed off her talent at St. Anthony’s high school on Long Island Friday by scoring 22 points including 17 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as The Mary Louis Academy fell to Nazareth 63-45 in the quarterfinals round of the CHSAA “AA” girls state tournament.

“It was desperation to keep the season alive,” Robinson said of her big second half. “I wasn't ready for it to end yet. I wanted to make it to states at least one time while I was here.”

Unfortunately the George Mason-bound senior wouldn’t make it to the state finals as Nazareth’s balanced offense was just too much for Mary Louis to handle. Nazareth had four players with at least 10 points, another with nine, and one player who was held to just two points in this match, Taylor Ford, dropped 16 on Mary Louis a week ago.

“It is kind of frustrating,” Robinson said of facing Nazareth. “They have a lot of good players and you never know who's going to play so you have to cover everyone basically. It's just about finding out who's hot and who's hot.”

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: The Mary Louis Academy Hilltoppers (18-8) looked good early on. They took a quick lead behind a fast start from sophomore Jasmine Nwaji, who scored eight, and Brianna Harris, who finished with five. After one they had a 12-10 lead.

In the second quarter the Nazareth Lady Kingsmen (26-3) started to come alive, but the Hilltoppers were right with them for most of the quarter. That was until freshman Bianca Cuevas got hot and scored 10 points over the final three minutes which put Nazareth up 32-25 going into the half.

The third quarter was bad, but not terrible for Mary Louis. They let a seven point lead turn into a 10 point lead, but a late 9-0 gave them confidence that they could mount a comeback.

So Robinson and Mary Louis went to work to try to chip away at that lead in the fourth quarter. They were starting to do that too as they had a nice 7-3 run and Robinson was in the middle of a nine point quarter, but that’s when Nazareth called a time-out that sparked one of their leaders.

“(Apache) told me that this could be our last game and asked, 'why do you want this to end?' Tiffany Taylor said. “I didn't want this game to be my last game so I went out and did what I had to do.”

TURNING POINT: Taylor had not even started the game because of behavioral issues, but she certainly finished it. As Mary Louis was beginning to mount a fourth quarter comeback she came alive. Over the final four minutes of the game she scored all of her 10 points, and played stellar defense grabbing practically every rebound that came off the rim.

“That's a level of basketball that we expect her to play at all times,” Paschall said of Taylor’s fourth quarter. “When she's confident and playing hard, she's tremendous under the basket and locking up the middle for us.”

“When I’m on, “ Taylor added, “Nobody can hold me, I'm like LeBron.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME: As great as Taylor was, it’s hard to give her dub her as the player of the game. She made a big contribution in the fourth, but Cuevas, who finished with 13, made a huge contribution of her own in the second.

There was also a great run by Darius Faulk, who finished with 11, that started the third quarter. Brianna Sidney, who finished with 11, also deserves mention, as she contributed throughout the game, especially in the second quarter when she scored seven.

“It's crazy because the last time we were talking I said Taylor was our most consistent player,” Paschall said referring to the last time Nazareth faced Mary Louis, “but this team is good enough so that if one player isn't playing up to their abilities the others will pick up the slack.”

ST. ANTHONY’S VS. ST. PETER’S: In what ended up being the final game in St. Peter’s history, the small girls school of 108 that is closing at the end of the year lost to the much larger St. Anthony’s 57-33.

It was more of a whimper than a bang as St. Peter’s (21-8) was down 20-10 after the first quarter and despite a second quarter where it outscored St. Anthony’s 10-9, the Eagles didn’t get much offense at all in the second half. Jamie O’Hare, who had 21 points, was the only player with a field goal in the second half and only Christine Kline, who finished with seven points, had one after the first quarter.

“We’re a small school with a small team that plays at the highest level in New York,” said St. Peter’s coach Bob Daggett. “The last game is always difficult, but under these circumstances it’s even harder.”

UP NEXT: Nazareth will now face St. Anthony's on Saturday at St. Dominic high school in Long Island in a semifinals matchup.

“St. Anthony's matchup the best for us because they have three kids that can battle our kids,” Paschall said. “They have athletic guards that can make shots. I anticipate it to be a war.”

Top 10 girls poll

February, 14, 2011
As usual, there isn’t much change atop the girls poll. Christ the King dropped a game, but that won’t put the Royals below Nazareth. We need to see head-to-head results to change the top two spots.
1. Christ the King (15-6/LW: 1): Christ the King lost to a New Jersey foe, but beat St. Francis Prep and Mary Louis.

2. Nazareth (20-3/LW: 2): Nazareth picked up a pair of wins over the weekend.

3. Murry Bergtraum (18-3/LW: 3): Murry Bergtraum is the top seed in the PSAL AA tournament.

4. Moore Catholic (18-3/LW: 4): Moore Catholic defeated St. Peter’s, but fell to Murry.

5. St. Peter’s (13-5/LW: 4): St. Peter’s fell to its Staten Island rival, but rebounded for a win against Notre Dame Academy.

6. South Shore (20-5/LW: 6): South Shore went 3-1 this week and will be the No. 2 seed in the PSAL AA tournament.

7. JFK (16-8/LW: 9): JFK is the No. 4 seed in the AA tournament and a team that will want to be avoided.

8. Francis Lewis (16-6/LW: 10): Francis Lewis entered as the 10 seed and actually won all of its games to move up.

9. Mary Louis Academy (14-6/LW: 7): It’s getting hard to figure out Mary Louis after dropping two games this week.

10. Bishop Loughlin (12-8/LW: Unranked): Here’s Bishop Loughlin again. It picked up nice wins against Kearney, Truman and Mary Louis Academy.