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John Moriello's NYSSWA blog
Saturday, March 26, 2011: Long Island foes set up Federation 'A' rematch
   Leading off today: The Federation tournament boys Class A basketball final will be an all-Long Island rematch Saturday.

   Manhasset St. Mary's went on a 13-0 fourth-quarter run to pull away from Midwood 67-44 in a semifinal that advanced the Gaels (29-0) to a title tilt vs. Long Island Lutheran. LuHi beat Jamesville-DeWitt 75-71 in the first semifinals.

   St. Mary's defeated LuHi 57-55 on Jan. 13.

   "I'd be lying if I said we weren't looking forward to the rematch," St. Mary's coach Bill Harkins told Newsday. "They showed how tough they were . Two great teams. It's nice to see two Long Island teams in the finals."

   Chavaughn Lewis led St. Mary's with 30 points. He scored off a dazzling steal and feed from Khalif Chaplin to complete a 10-0 run that gave the St. Mary's a 45-32 lead early in the second half. Lewis also finished with nine rebounds, four assists, three blocks and three steals.

   In the first game, Shaun Lawton scored 24 points and Achraf Yacoubou added 19 while repeatedly beating the Red Rams and standout center Dajuan Coleman (29- points, 13 rebounds) downcourt to complement a perimeter shooting game that clicked at an 8-for-11 rate in the second half.

   "We're a running team," Lawton said, "and we knew if we pushed tempo, he (Coleman) would wear out."

   It was left primarily to Yacoubou to guard Coleman after 6-7 center Jordan Allen picked up his fourth foul early in the period, and he also played a major role on offense in the second half. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Yacoubou tied the score at 46 late in the third period

   Lawton tacked on 14 fourth-quarter points to wipe on a 50-48 J-D lead entering the final eight minutes.

   Resentment rears its head: The story in USA Today was supposed to be about Ruth Lovelace, coach of the Boys & Girls basketball team playing in the Federation tournament this weekend. But as much as anything it showed a petty side to a rival coach in the PSAL.

   After the Kangaroos defeated Abraham Lincoln for the

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  • Boys hoops: Sectional tourney scores and NYSPHSAA brackets
  • Girls hoops: NYSPHSAA brackets

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    second consecutive year in the PSAL final recently, Railsplitters coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton told reporters, "I think (us) having 23 turnovers and them shooting 33 free throws and us losing by five or six, she got lucky."

       Thomas Jefferson coach Lawrence Pollard was far more gracious in discussing his colleague. "If you do it once, you might be lucky," Pollard told the paper. "When you repeat, it's more than luck, particularly in our league, with the competition."

       Boys & Girls has been to the playoffs 17 consecutive seasons under Lovelace. If the 'Roos beat Mount Vernon Saturday afternoon and then Christ the King in the 'AA' final Sunday, Lovelace will be a national story as a woman winning the ultimate title in a hotbed basketball state for a school with a rich heritage that has included the likes of Connie Hawkins and Pearl Washington.

       Lovelace enjoys winning, but she would seem to have her priorities in order. "I know coaches in the city who've never made the playoffs, yet they're good coaches," she said. "They get their kids to graduate. I look at it as a success when a (former player) calls me up and says, 'Coach, I'm sending out an invitation to my wedding,' or 'I just landed a great job.' Or when they have their first kid and ask me if I could come to the baby shower. Those things are how I measure my success."

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