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Falcons soaring again, looking to stay in flight

Call Bishop Ford Dr. Jekyll one day and Mr. Hyde the next.

The Falcons girls’ basketball team has had a dualistic nature this season, beating and playing with some of the city’s top teams one day and losing to sub-.500 squads the next.

Ford was beaten handily by a solid Notre Dame Academy team and then knocked off Francis Lewis, which had won two straight coming into the game, in late December.

More recently, the Falcons beat Archbishop Molloy, the defending CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens champion, on Jan. 8, but last Wednesday traveled to Staten Island and lost by five to a St. John Villa team that is 7-9.

“Sometimes people are just not feeling it that day,” junior forward Shayra Brown said. “Maybe we all lose focus and we just don’t have that spark today. We should try to get out of that.”

While that will take some time to truly prove, they certainly have started to moved on from it.

Three days after losing to the Bears, Bishop Ford handled St. Joseph by-the-Sea, and Monday put together a near flawless performance in a 78-39 victory against Bishop Kearney (5-10), which lost to St. John Villa at the buzzer earlier this season. The win keeps the Falcons (9-9, 4-3) in third place in Brooklyn/Queens Division I, which would give them the final spot from their league in the CHSAA Class AA state tournament.

The Falcons were in full Dr. Jekyll mode against Kearney. They crisply ran their offense, got in the passing lanes on defense and were able to get up and down the floor in transition.

“Today we looked like we know how to play basketball,” coach John LoSasso said. “We looked like we enjoy playing with each other. Everybody is a factor.”

Junior Vanessa D’Ambrosi scored eight of her 17 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed seven rebounds. Senior Catherine Cassidy scored 11 points and dished out nine assists. Sophomore Anjali Moncrieffe and Brown each had 12 points. Moncrieffe added six assists and five steals.

A far cry from what Ford looks like during a Mr. Hyde performance.

“We stop. We look like we have no energy,” LoSasso said. “I think it’s part of me learning them as well. It’s not just them.”

LoSasso, who is in his first season coaching the varsity, said it has taken him and his staff time to sift through each player’s strengths and weakness to find their correct rolls. He also said the players are also learning how to prepare mentally for every game.

The Falcons are a mixture of senior role players, mostly sophomore and junior starters and a freshman, who have taken some time to gel around Brown, the star. When that team struggles Brown is sometimes left to go it alone.

That has not been the case lately.

D’Ambrosi has began playing consistently well, scoring 20 points in two of her last four games. Cassidy scored 14 in the loss to Villa and Moncrieffe had 12 points in the win over St. Joseph by the Sea. Freshman center Brittany Lewis was attacking the glass more and even dribbling up in transition against Kearney.

“We have so many threats on our team that if you stop one, four more are coming at you,” Cassidy said.

The Falcons’ next chance against one of the city’s best squad’s comes when John F. Kennedy, which has won 11 straight games, visits on Saturday. Then they get a rematch with Molloy at home on Feb. 2, where a win could all but lock up the No. 3 seed.

It’s just a matter of which Ford team shows up: Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.

“We have been inconsistent throughout the year, but we’re a young team,” Cassidy said. “This shows how great we are going to be through the season. This is the team we are. This is the team we are going to be.”

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