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Whole again: Healthy Falcons blitz Banneker

Bishop Ford and its players got to take a breather, literally and figuratively. The Falcons played nearly a month shorthanded without senior star Diani Mason because of an ankle injury. It meant few substitutions for coach Mike Toro and little rest for his starters.

“We would have seven people a game,” senior guard Anjali Moncrieffe said. “We would get tired running back and forth the whole game.”

Things finally caught up with them last weekend in consecutive blowout non-league losses to Archbishop Wood (Pa.) and University (N.J.). But Ford returned home to play its first game all season with its full complement of players as Mason and Brittany (Pookie) Martin (knee) were both on the court.

“That’s the best thing about it, having everybody back and letting them see in flashes the potential team that they have,” Falcons coach Mike Toro said. “It could take some time, but we could be a very dangerous team.”

They were at least for one night in a 75-36 thrashing of Banneker during the Rose Classic Super Jam at Bishop Ford on Jan. 15. Brittany Lewis and Moncrieffe each scored 10 points and Shanice Vaughan, Annie Panousopulos and Brittany Henry had nine points apiece. All 12 Falcons scored. Kayana Graham led Banneker (9-7) with 11 points.

The loss spoiled the return of sophomore guard Africa Williams. She is leading the PSAL in scoring with an average of 30 points per game after helping lead the Ford JV team to its first ever CHSAA city title last season. With backcourt mate Jenipher Rodriguez out with an ankle injury, the Falcons were able to bottle up Williams (nine points) and keep her out of the paint.

“Normally she brings it up and I stay on the wing,” Williams said of Rodriguez. “I’m not used to bringing it up.”

Added Banneker coach Jonathan Anderson: “The press killed us.”

Having just one confident ball handler really showed against the Bishop Ford (7-7) pressure. Tanasia (Sweets) Blake scored five straight points to spark a 13-2 run late in the second quarter. Jeane Jennings and Lewis capped it with jumpers to help give Ford a 42-23 lead at the half. The Falcons opened the third with a 15-0 spurt that Moncrieffe finished with a steal and score to make it 53-23 with 4:12 remaining.

“We were fresh,” Moncrieffe said. “We weren’t tired.”

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