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7th Grade Comeback Falls Short as Time Expires

Late Run Brings 7th Graders to the Brink, but Fall Just Short in the Final Seconds
Posted on 03/14/2019
Late Run Brings 7th Graders to the Brink, but Fall Just Short in the Final Seconds

Trailing by 11 with about three minutes left, the Flatbush 7th Grade Girls basketball Team mounted a near-epic comeback, but it fell one possession short as the Falcons fell to the HAFTR Hawks in the MJSDBL Championship game on Thursday night (3/14) at the Magen David Elementary School on McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.

 Offense on the move

A nice crowd of Flatbush fans were on hand, as were many supporters of the 2nd Seeded HAFTR Hawks, to see their top-seeded Falcons challenge for the top spot in the League.

 Foam Finger Supporters

This is the second year that the MJDSBL has had competition for lone 7th Grade girls basketball, and both times the Flatbush Falcons earned their way to the championship game. Last time around, Head Coach Sylvia Franco’s girls lost the Finals in overtime. Could they finally claim that elusive championship?

 Tip Off

Flatbush opened with their trademark pressure defense, spearheaded by Allie Abraham, turning the Hawks over on their first three possessions. Meanwhile, Abraham opened the scoring with a 3-pointer for the Falcons. Flatbush had the early 5-0 lead, but sloppy passing let HAFTR score two quick baskets, and with half the period gone, the score was 5-4 Flatbush. The Falcons had difficulty getting a good look at the basket, and the team gave up two big rebounds that HAFTR converted into points. At the first quarter break, the Hawks were up, 8-5.

 Pressure Defense Allie Abraham

The defensive intensity returned at the start of the second quarter. When Jen Oved took a steal, drove to the basket and hit a running bank shot, Flatbush closed to one point with two minutes gone in the quarter. Later, Jaqueline Romano found Oved going to the basket, and Flatbush had the lead back, 9-8, with under three minutes left in the half. Flatbush only managed 4 points in the quarter, yet they had a number of chances to really extend their lead with inside looks that just would not drop. But, the story was the Falcons defense - and their intense press. They held the Hawks scoreless in the quarter, and at the half Flatbush was now in front, 9-8.

 Defense
Jen Oved Scores

HAFTR opened the second half with a strong statement, sinking baskets on their first two possessions to take a 12-9 lead. The offense also struggled, turning it over twice after the restart. Flatbush tightened up the defense, with Renee Franco now controlling the defensive boards, but the Falcons again just could not get their shots to drop. With 2:40 to play in the third, Barbara Saff finally got Flatbush back on the scoreboard. Flatbush had a chance for the last shot of the quarter, but lost the ball. The Flatbush defense forced an errant shot by HAFTR, but by fortune the ball landed in the hands of a Hawk alone under the basket. She put the ball back up and in for the last two points of the quarter. It hurt, and with one quarter to play, the Hawks were in the lead, 16-11.

 Barbara Saff drives to the hoop

One quarter remained on the season, and Coach Franco looked to her defense to step up, and give her offense a chance to come back. Unfortunately, it was the Hawks that scored next. Flatbush continued to come up short on the offensive end. Time was running out on the Falcons, and with 4:46 remaining on the clock HAFTR was now up, 20-11. Renee Franco finally scored for the Falcons, but there was now under three minutes left and Flatbush trailed, 22-13. Maybe, just maybe though, this was the spark the Falcons needed. An Abraham banker got Flatbush two points closer.

Abraham pulls the Falcons closer Shasho scores 

Lauren Shasho followed with a jumper after a Hawk turnover. With 1:43 to play, Flatbush had closed to 22-17! The Falcons press caused four straight turnovers, and the offense finally scored after the fourth one on a Romano put back to cut the deficit to three. However, just 16 seconds remained. With the coaches on their feet urging on their Falcons, the defense got the stop they needed, but only 4 seconds remained on the clock.

 Renee Franco hits!

Coach Franco called for a timeout, but the officials ignored her plea. Time ran out before they could get off a game-tying three point attempt – which fell short anyway. HAFTR held on to win, 22-19. For the second year in a row, the season ended in disappointment for the 7th Grade Girls Basketball Falcons.

 Coaches Praise the girls

Afterwards, Coach Franco – along with Assistant Coach Samantha Chabot – shared words of praise and encouragement with their young ball players. “This was a very tough loss, but we are so proud of the way you played, both tonight and all season long. You had an amazing late fourth quarter run. But, we want you to think about the season as a whole. Think about where you were at the end of last year, and what you accomplished this year. You improved every single day. We know you will take this season’s experience and bring it with you next year to 8th Grade.”

Thank you, Coach Franco and Coach Chabot, and congratulations to the 7th Grade Falcons on a truly memorable 2018-19 Season!

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