The moment the Hawks won the Queens Championship on February 16.
The moment the Hawks won the Queens Championship on February 16.
Aiden Clarke

Girls Varsity Basketball team makes THHS history as Queens champions, defeating Francis Lewis to take the title

Watch highlights from the game. Filmed by Classic Livestream team.
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On Friday, the Girls Varsity Basketball team won the Queens Borough Championship against Francis Lewis High School. At home in the THHS gym alongside a crowd of cheering Harrisites, the Hawks emerged victorious with a final score of 67-45. This victory marked the first time in school history that the Girls Varsity Basketball team won such a title, according to an email sent to the school by Assistant Principal Ellen Fee.

The Hawks won three playoff games last week: the quarter final on Monday, the semi final on Wednesday, and the championship game on Friday. In Ms. Fee’s email, Coach Lauren Caiaccia praised the players for their string of victories. “This week was phenomenal,” she said. “Over the course of three games, we showcased our commitment, dedication to growing together, and what it means to play as a team.”

Speaking to The Classic, Coach Caiaccia said, “THHS is quintessential Queens. We reflect what is meant by ‘the world’s borough’ and our girls basketball team are true student-athletes. This team has improved so much this season, so to capture this title together is something that we will all remember forever.” Coach Caiaccia has been coaching for 17 years at Townsend Harris, and she’s coached teams that have captured eight division titles and made it to the final four twice.

With a 12-2 regular season record, the Hawks had been stuck in second place behind the only team that defeated them (twice): Metropolitan High School. Metropolitan, however, lost to Beach Channel High School by one point, 43-42, in the quarter final. On Wednesday, the Hawks faced Beach Channel in the semi-final game and won by forty points with a score of  68-28. The team was led by junior Eva Hannon with a double double of 20 points and 15 rebounds, senior Caylin Chan with 25 points, and senior Audrey Lin with 11 points. This victory led to the borough championship against Francis Lewis on Friday.

As a senior, winning the borough championship feels even more special. After four years, it has been a long road to get to where we are today and capturing the title in our home gym is an incredible feeling.

— Captain Caylin Chan

In a “Borough Championships Preview” published by PSAL, the authors singled out Eva as a formidable player who could help the team secure a win in the final: “Hannon averages over 11 rebounds a contest, and on a pair of occasions she has grabbed over 20 in a game as her physical presence and ability to dominate and control games in the paint has made it tough for Townsend Harris’s opposition to be able to do much of anything after misses.”

Once the game started, the girls took an early lead in the first quarter with a score of 19-8 and didn’t let up. The girls continued to increase their lead by making several great plays and playing good defense.

Audrey said, “I think the team did a good job playing as a team. We had good ball movement and communicated on defense.” 

An overall team effort allowed the girls to continue to push until the final buzzer. The team was led by Eva with 19 points and 16 rebounds, senior Ioanna Giannopoulou with 17 points, Caylin with 13 points, and Audrey with 12 points.

With the final buzzer approaching and the Hawks well in the lead, the players focused on keeping the ball and running out the clock. The buzzer echoed throughout the gymnasium, and the team joined each other in celebrating. The crowd roared, and their opponents congratulated them. “My favorite [part] was the end where the whole team ran on [the] court and hugged each other… It felt like a dream becoming a reality,” junior Azeezat Yusuf said.

Junior Adrita Dey said, “[I want to] thank the seniors most. They’re always there for us, making sure we feel loved and appreciated.” 

Azeezat said, “Without [my team and Coach Caiaccia], I wouldn’t be the player I am today… I truly love them with all my heart.”

The team poses with their plaque after winning the game. (Aiden Clarke)

Caylin said, “As a senior, winning the borough championship feels even more special. After four years, it has been a long road to get to where we are today and capturing the title in our home gym is an incredible feeling.” 

Both Ioanna and Audrey commented on the win, saying that they both felt good not only to win but to be on the first team in THHS history that has won the title. 

Now, the Girls have their sights set on the City Playoffs, which are coming up next week. Senior Ioanna says, “I look forward to meeting new competition and am hoping that my team can make it far.”

Coach Caiaccia said, “Citywide playoffs offer another chance to earn an opportunity to keep what we have together going another day. One day at a time. One game at a time.”

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