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Bethea leads surging Terriers past Sharks

SFC wins 48th annual Battle of Brooklyn at The ARC

February 1, 2023 John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The St. Francis Brooklyn men’s basketball team is heating up for the stretch run of the Northeast Conference season.

And redshirt freshman Zion Bethea is providing plenty of firepower off the bench.

Bethea scored a game-high 18 points to grab Battle of Brooklyn Most Valuable Player honors as the Terriers used a late first-half run to pull away from the arch rival Long Island University Sharks Saturday night in front of 223 fans at The ARC.

Chasing its first win in the annual rivalry game in three years, SFC (11-11, 4-5 NEC) was clinging to a four-point, first-half lead before Bethea and Trey Quartlebaum combined to go a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range, sparking an 18-6 run that gave the Terriers a 44-28 cushion at intermission.

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“My teammates found me the ball and coaches trusted me and I was able to get it done,” said Bethea, who finished 5-of-12 from the floor, handed out six assists and grabbed four rebounds in his Battle of Brooklyn debut.

“Honestly we were moving the ball,” Bethea added. “Coach (Glenn Braica)practiced that all the time, moving the ball is really the key.”

Tedrick Wilcox Jr., added 15 points, Josiah Harris had 14 and Quartlebaum finished with 12 for the Terriers, who were coming off last Thursday’s win at Staten Island rival Wagner.

SFC has won five of its last seven overall to climb into a three-way tie for sixth place in the NEC with seven games to go before the NEC Tournament.

“As a team we played very well together today,” Bethea said. “And I’m so happy that we got the win today. And I can’t even ask for anything more.”

The Sharks (3-19, 1-9) are at the bottom of the conference standings. They were led by R.J. Greene’s 17 points and 12 by Tre Wood en route to their ninth defeat in the last 10 games.

LIU will be back in action Thursday evening at Merrimack in North Andover, Massachusetts.

As for the Terriers, they’ll be hosting Central Connecticut State here Thursday afternoon on the second leg of a four-game homestand as they hope to continue rising up the standings and make another bid for the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance come March.

“This is what we needed right here,” Bethea noted. “We just need to keep getting better and better each day. Let’s go Terriers!”

The LIU ladies made sure to end their 17-game losing streak and post their first NEC win in scintillating fashion Saturday in front of 312 fans at Downtown’s Steinberg Wellness Center, rolling to a 67-54 triumph over the rival Terriers.

Battle of Brooklyn MVP Ashley Austin led the way with a game-high 25 points, including a buzzer-beating half-court heave that resulted in a 3-point play and gave the previously slumping Sharks (3-18, 1-8) a 29-19 lead at half.

Ashley Austin and the LIU ladies celebrate her buzzer-beater and a win over arch rival SFC Brooklyn in Downtown Brooklyn Saturday. Photo courtesy of LIU Athletics

Claire Henson added 10 points off the bench for LIU, which will seek its first winning streak of the year here Thursday afternoon vs. visiting Merrimack.

Tyra Myers poured in a team-high 21 points for SFC (6-14, 5-3), which will look for a quick recovery from its first loss in three games Thursday night at CCSU in New Britain, Connecticut.

Despite the defeat, the Terriers are fourth in the NEC standings, giving them a shot to host an opening-round game in the conference tournament.

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In local Division III action, the two-time defending CUNYAC champion women’s team from Brooklyn College is looking quite capable of a three-peat.

League MVP candidate Gianna Gotti continued her dream senior season with a career-high 38 points to go with seven assists and eight steals Tuesday night as the Bulldogs rolled to their ninth straight win, remaining unbeaten in CUNYAC play with a 74-57 win in front of 297 fans at John Jay College.

Gotti made 16-of-28 shots, including a blistering 5-of-7 from 3-point range, as BC (13-7, 10-0 CUNYAC) remained unbeaten in 2023.

Ericka James added 16 points for the Bulldogs, who haven’t lost since a 75-67 setback at non-conference foe Cabrini University on Dec. 30.

Gianna Gotti’s career-best 38-point performance at John Jay Tuesday guided Brooklyn College to its ninth straight win in 2023. Photo courtesy of BC Athletics

BC will try to make it 10 wins in a row overall Saturday afternoon at Lehman College in the Bronx.

The Bulldogs’ men’s squad dropped a 73-59 decision at John Jay Tuesday despite 20 points from Kevin Olajide and 15 by David McFadden.

BC (3-17, 1-9) will try to end a seven-game losing streak Saturday at Lehman.


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