Madison 55 Fontbonne 33
“Year after year this is still the best Division A high school girls basketball tournament in Brooklyn,” said Fontbonne Coach Steve Oliver referring to the St. Thomas Aquinas annual Monsignor King Tournament.
Overseen by St. Thomas’s Guy Defonzo over the three day Martin Luther King Holiday Weekend, the tournament showcases some the best CHSAA and PSAL teams.
After beating Millennium High School 50-27 and St. John Villa 62-55, the 5-0 Bonnies reached the finals to meet the best team from the PSAL’s Brooklyn A South Division, the 9-0 Madison Lady Golden Knights.
Led by Coach Richard Tighe, the Knights fielded a core of skilled junior players, and were last season’s defending champion of the last King Tournament.
Used to being competitive from the opening of any game, the Bonnies had the tables turned on them as Madison went up 12-1 in the first quarter. After Fontbonne’s Jill Howard shot the game’s first foul shot, the Bonnies remained with just one point (23-1) until midway of the second quarter.
With the strong rebounding efforts of Ketsia Athias and Deidre Foster, the Lady Golden Knights showed that “height was might” by denying the Bonnies a second shot on their misses to put Madison up 31-13 at the half.
In the second half, Alina Estrella deftly handled the ball down the court as she set up teammate Erika James who was “on fire,” scoring 23 points to finish as the game’s high scorer and tournament MVP.
The third quarter ended with a long threepoint shot by Melinda Fertovic that acted as a punctuation mark that the game was in the Lady Golden Knights’ pocket as the period ended with a substantial 48-23 Madison lead.
Playing hard from behind throughout the game, Howard was Fontbonne’s top rebounder and high scorer with 15 points.
Commenting on the loss, Fontbonne Coach Oliver stated, “It was just one of those nights when the team was really off. It shows you when you’re missing your shots early; it’s hard to recover when you’re playing a good team like Madison. For us, it’s back to the practice court.”