By Jim Dolan
Preston 38 Fontbonne 29
After capturing the GCHSAA Division II Brooklyn-Queens championship in the final seconds of their game against Bishop Kearney, the Fontbonne Hall Academy Bonnies continued their ascent in the New York City diocesan playoffs with subsequent wins over St. Vincent Ferrer and St. John’s Prep to make it to the city finals against Preston, a school from Throgs Neck in the Bronx.
With the stage set for the Division II city championship on March 9 in the Sacred Heart High School gym in Yonkers, the Bonnies entered the contest as the underdogs against a team that contained a core group of AAU travel players from the Bronx Running Rebels. In order to counter his experienced opponent, Fontbonne head coach Stephen Oliver drew up a quick defensive game plan for his team to stop Preston at the perimeter with a new 3-2 defense.
Despite the adjustment, Preston proved formidable, taking a 22-15 lead in the first quarter and a 29-22 lead by the half. For the beginning of the third quarter, the Bonnies held Preston scoreless as Cindy Henderson scored in transition and Kate Oliver hit two foul shots to narrow the lead to three points, 29-26, at the 4:31 mark.
After narrowing the gap, Fontbonne’s chances dwindled in the final quarter as Preston’s defense began to deny the Bonnies shot opportunities from the arc.
“We just couldn’t get off a good first shot,” coach Oliver said, “We needed more shots and Preston just didn’t allow us to get them.”
On the season, coach Oliver remarked, “I couldn’t have asked for more from the girls. We got a championship win over Kearney and then made it to the city finals. It’s been a great season for Fontbonne.”