Breanna Stewart Drops Hiroshima Game on Nazareth in NYS Feds
Knowing that I had to drive 250 miles tomorrow to Kingston, R.I., to cover the NCAA Regional there, I was somewhat loath this morn to drive 220 miles to watch the semifinal game of the NYS Federation Championship between the Public School League champion, Cicero-North Syracuse, and the Catholic League champion, Nazareth, in Albany, NY. But I knew I wasn't likely to see the quality of players in Kingston that I could see in Albany, so I fired up the Magic Bus and headed off to the Empire State.
CN-S has one superstar player, Breanna Stewart, and no other player with a college basketball scholarship offer. Nazareth is the defending Federation Champion, and has four legitimate D1 candidates: McDonald's AA Brianna Butler, who is signed with Syracuse, Darius Faulk, who is signed with West Virginia, and two budding superstar guards, hot tamale Bianca Cuevas and slashing Sadie Edwards. Having watched CN-S lose to Christ the King in the Mecca Tournament last month, I thought Nazareth had the multiple athletic talents to beat the CN-S one woman show.
Wrong! Big time wrong!
CN-S destroyed Nazareth, 80-55, with Breanna Stewart putting on the most dominant performance I have ever seen by a high school 4-5 player.
Stewart had 42 points on an amazing 10-15, 2-2, 10-10 shooting performance, along with 23 rebounds, 3 assists and 6 blocks. Her point total broke the one game Federation record for Class AA held by Epiphanny Prince (38 in 2004) and came within one of the all classes record of 43 set by Michelle Blot of Class A in 2001. The Federation record book is self-contradictory on whether the one game Federation record for rebounds is 22 or 23, but Breanna either broke it or tied it. Nazareth, as a team, only had 24 total rebounds.
Stewart scored in every way imaginable: ambidextrous put backs and low post moves, pull-up midrange jumpers, full court drives, and a 50 foot swish from behind the half court line as the first quarter horn sounded. She dominated the boards, swatted shots into the tunnels, brought the ball up court to help break the Nazareth full court press, and intimidated the Naz tamales and slashers in the paint.
The Northstars shot 61% overall, 60% from the arc and 92% from the eleemosynary etch. The Northstars held the Lady Kingsmen to 32% shooting and outrebounded them, 46-24. Sadie Edwards led Nazareth with 19 points, Brianna Butler had 13, and Bianca Cuevas only had 5 points on 2-18 shooting--probably her worst game of the season.
Breanna and the 'stars have one more hurdle, defeating Murry Bergtraum in the Federation final game tomorrow. This is a revenge match. Bergtraum beat CN-S in the semifinal game last year. Whatever I predict would probably be wrong, but I know who should win the game.
With some confidence, I predict I will not see a player as good as Breanna Stewart tomorrow in the Ocean State .