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Sports March 7, 2013  RSS feed

A Perfect Season For Maspeth Girls

In Second Year, Basketball Pgm. Drives To Success
by Will Sammon

The team had just recently been established—yet to even play a regular season game—but, as he tells the story, the Maspeth High School girls junior varsity basketball head coach knew perfection would be in store.

Maspeth High School’s first year of operation was in the 2011-12 school year at Metropolitan Avenue Campus in Forest Hills where a ninth grade of 248 students incubated. In September 2012, Maspeth High School’s new building, located at 54- 40 74th Street, opened its doors and the school’s athletics program started.

Fabian Suarez, who serves as both athletics director for the school and junior varsity girls basketball head coach, said he knew right away, by watching the girls during physical education class that there was some talent. Interest was cemented by a letter he received from a girl’s mother asking if there would be a team.

What he saw during those classes was a girl with tremendous ball handling skills, another who had a brother on the tenth grade team, some good shooting and some good size.

Evidently, it was more than enough.

The squad was placed into the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) Queens Division-1 for junior varsity this season as a “developmental team.” In other words, Maspeth played teams inside the division but those games were counted as non-league competitions and therefore the school was not allowed to participate in the playoffs.

Without the playoffs, the season ended after eight games—and eight wins.

Maspeth didn’t just win, however— they dominated. The team defeated its opponents by an average score differential of more than 21 points.

“That was the biggest surprise,” Suarez said. “The only school that really challenged us was William Bryant.”

On Feb. 25, the Maspeth girls’ perfect season was in jeopardy for the first and only time in the final regular season game against William Bryant High School in Long Island City .

With only two minutes remaining, Maspeth was only up three points against Bryant, a team they had creamed by 16 just two weeks prior. Thanks to defensive stops and key free throws down the stretch, Maspeth ended up winning, 39-31.

“My girls clamped down, hustled back and hit some big free throws,” Suarez said.

Suarez, who previously coached boys basketball for a few seasons, took a year off from coaching last year and stepped in to coach the girls team because the new school was in need of leaders.

He said he didn’t know what to expect at first but was pleasantly surprised by the lack of “drama” the team encountered this year.

“Boys team were a lot more difficult to coach,” Suarez noted. “Girls want to do better, want immediate feedback and ask questions. Boys tend to think they know the game more whereas girls want to learn and look to be taught.”

This season, a majority of Maspeth’s points were from fast break and turnovers, according to the coach. They also moved the ball and made plays, Suarez said, taking in knowledge that he was teaching them.

The roster had seven freshmen and seven sophomores, an even split that bodes well for the school’s junior varsity and varsity programs next year.

“The success means a lot,” Suarez said. “New players now may want to come to Maspeth. Also, the girls will come back even hungrier to prove themselves on the varsity level.”

The only thing missing from the successful season was, of course, a championship.

“We would’ve finished in first place,” the coach said. “Hopefully next year they’ll place us in a nice division.”

Suarez also said that he he’ll most likely be on the sidelines again with the team. Once a school has six PSAL teams or more, according to the league rules, an athletics director can only coach if he or she gives up the position for the season.

“I am definitely leaning toward coaching,” Suarez said. “I want to see what these girls can do next.”