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Nazareth shows lack of chemistry in loss to Bergtraum

January 20, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Junior Niya Johnson (in white) scored a career-high 35 points against Bergtraum, but Nazareth failed to pick up the win during the Rose Classic Super Jam. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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The Nazareth girls basketball team missed an opportunity to make a big statement when it lost to the National Christian Academy on Saturday and then to Bergtraum High School on Monday during the Rose Classic Super Jam in East Flatbush.

The school’s pair of losses drops the Lady Kingsmen to 5-12 overall this season and had head coach Ron Kelley upset over the lack of chemistry on the team after their 68-61 loss to Bergtraum Monday night.

“We just have to figure out how to play basketball,” said the usually upbeat Kelley. “I have a bunch of kids right now who don’t know how to play basketball. They’re not listening to me. They’re not doing what I ask of them on defense. They don’t listen to what I tell them to do on offense. If we do it their way, we’re going to lose games.”

A win against Bergtraum would have sent a big message that the Lady Kingsmen had turned a corner. They had a great opportunity with Bergtraum’s star guard Ashanae McLaughlin sitting out on Monday, but instead they blew a nine-point, third-quarter lead.

However, junior guard Niya Johnson ended up having a tremendous night against Bergtraum. She scored 11 points in the first quarter, 11 in the second and nine in the third to keep the Lady Kingsmen ahead for most of the game. She struggled in the fourth quarter, and with no teammates picking up the slack, Nazareth gave up the lead.

“Honestly, I don’t know what happened,” said Johnson, who finished with 35 points. “I guess I tried to get my team involved in the second half and then I waited so long to get myself back in the game that it didn’t happen.”

Senior guard Brittany Jackson explained that on a team with so many young players —Nazareth has only two seniors — it is struggling to learn to play together.

“It’s not like last year when we had five seniors on the team who had been playing with each other since the eighth grade,” Jackson said. “We didn’t really play with each other. It was only me and Niya and Shalix who have been together. It’s not the same. We try to gel and build up that chemistry, but it’s not the same.”

With six games left in the regular season, Nazareth still has time to make adjustments before the playoffs. It won’t be easy, though. Nazareth faces top teams including Francis Lewis, Christ the King, Bishop Loughlin and Molloy over the next month.
“We still have to keep building our chemistry throughout the year, but we definitely have the potential to be a really great team,” Johnson said.


Medgar Evers College Prep (MECP) picked up an impressive 70-57 win over Canarsie High School during the Rose Classic Super Jam behind a 27-point performance by sophomore Danielle Patterson.

“We’re getting better as each game goes on,” said coach Mike Toro. “They need to learn how to play every possession. They can’t take possessions off. They get comfortable when they have a lead, and they can’t think that way. I think they have to potential to if we believe as a team that we can do it.”

Patterson set the tone early for MECP when she scored eight points in the first quarter to put her team up 16-9. She then scored seven in the second and 12 in the second half as Canarsie hung around all game, but never overcame MECP’s early lead. Morgan Towells added 19 and Mikala Casimir scored 12.

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