BROOKLYN, NY - In the second week of pool play at the Conrad McRae Youth League, a nail biter took place between two competitive girl's teams.
On Saturday, Team Prince Elite would inch past The Patrick School, 53-51, with the help of some Big-10 bound star power early and clutch shooting late.
South Shore's Maryland bound senior Brianna Fraser (12 points) would set the tone early with a jumper that put TPE up, 6-3. The Patrick School responded as sophomore Aliyah Powell (4 points) got hot but Team Prince Elite countered, buoyed by Fraser's eight opening stanza points, and led 21-15 to end the warm up quarter.
South Shore's 5'6" sophomore Valena Hickerson (11 points) continued to provide offense for TPE but The Patrick School hung around and was within 4 points, midway through the second quarter as Shyasia Pridgen (8 points) scored and the New Jersey squad displayed cohesive ball movement. A buzzer beating trey by South Shore junior PG Amanda Cruz (9 points), however, would keep the momentum in Team Prince Elite's corner as the half ended.
Leading, 31-27, at the top of the third quarter, TPE began to capitalize on The Patrick School's turnovers but inside play from senior center Mattie Johnson (12 points) compensated and once again the game remained close. As the final quarter began, TPE amassed a five point advantage but Johnson helped The Patrick School reduce their deficit to a single point as she was virtually unstoppable down low.
With 4 minutes left to play, 5'9" Staten Island sophomore Tricia Conroy (St. Joseph Hill) got The Patrick School over a hurdle, tying the game at 45 with a clutch jumper. The score was knotted again at 47 as The Patrick fiercely battled in an attempt to gain first lead since they led 2-0 in the first quarter.
Fraser, who had been quiet since her first quarter explosion, deaded The Patrick School's attempt, breaking the tie in favor of TPE from the foul line. The 6'3" forward got her second wind and began to aggressively attack the paint both scoring and rebounding. The Patrick School, undeterred, still dominated the boards in the fourth quarter and seemed poised to make a last minute charge.
The stage was set for what could be an exciting overtime or perhaps a come-from-behind win by the Patrick School. That is until 5'10" Mt. Vernon sophomore, Curstyn Moore (15 points) stepped up big with 50 seconds left to play, giving Team Prince Elite the two point edge that they would hold on to until time ran out.