Game-tying three falls just short, Hawks eliminated from playoffs

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With a few seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and down by three the Hawks’ junior guard Debra Chen shot a three from just beyond the arch. The previous day the team had been preparing for these types of scenarios at practice. Debra’s three would fall just short and hit the front of the rim, putting an end to the Queens West Division Champions.

On March 5th, the girls varsity basketball team hosted the Port Richmond High School Raiders at the Wanda Nix Gymnasium in the Hawks’ second straight quarterfinal appearance in the PSAL “A” Division playoffs. Coming into the game on a strong four game winning streak, the Hawks could not come back from an early deficit as they lost to the Raiders 55-52 and were eliminated from the playoffs.

The Hawks had a true home court advantage, as almost the entirety of the bleachers were filled with Townsend Harris students and parents proudly rooting on the girls. In the first quarter, however, the Raiders outscored the Hawks 17-15. The second quarter was absolutely dominated by the Raiders, outscoring the Hawks 12-4, giving them a ten point lead going into halftime. The Hawks needed a comeback as they faced something they were not used to facing, a halftime deficit. In the third quarter, the Hawks cut the deficit to nine points, which led them to a spark in the fourth quarter. As it looked like the game was out of the Hawks’ grasp, the girls mounted a run and got the game tied up at 48. The Raiders would then then retake the lead getting it to 55-52 with a few seconds left and end it that way.

Senior forward Sierra Berkel said, “We were right in that game down to the last seconds.”

The leader in points for the Hawks was Sierra who had 21 points and 15 rebounds for another double-double, her third in the playoffs. Debra added 16 points but it just wasn’t enough for the Hawks to complete the comeback.

Overall, the Hawks had a very successful season. They finished 15-1 in the regular season, good enough to win the Queens A West Division for the third season in a row.

Junior guard Meraldina Ziljkic said, “Being 15-1 is a great accomplishment, and even though we were not undefeated, we got farther than any other team in Queens.”

Coach Lauren Caiaccia now sits at 96 wins and only 20 losses in her coaching career, a remarkable winning percentage of about 83%. Senior forward Sierra Berkel had another monstrous season, picking up 181 total rebounds and scoring just under 20 points per game in her final season.

Sierra said, “As a senior captain, I was just so proud of how the team came out and performed. That meant everything to me.”

The Hawks will be losing seven seniors due to graduation, which will leave a window of opportunity for the current team members and the team members to come in the future.

Meraldina said, “Even though we’ll be losing critical players from our rotation, I think the team will still be a strong contender in our division.”

During this season, the Hawks saw their regular season game winning streak grow to 47 games and advanced to the quarter finals for the second consecutive season.