Nazareth’s Lady Kingsmen honored the anniversary of coach Apache Paschall’s death in the best way the team could — by playing hard and winning.
The Kingsmen basketball team got 20 points and 10 rebounds from Jen Fay and 17 points from star guard Bianca Cuevas in a convincing 63–48 win over Archbishop Williams (Mass.) at New Years Resolution at John F. Kennedy High School in Patterson, N.J. on Saturday. Shiclasia Brown added nine points.
It was the team’s second win in two days for the defending Catholic state Class AA champion, after beating Willingboro, N.J. on Friday.
The players and coaches tried not to lament over Paschall’s passing at the age of 38 from a heart attack after a four-month battle with skin cancer a year ago on Jan. 3. Last Wednesday, co-coach Lauren Best gave birth to a baby boy, adding to an emotional week. Co-coach Ron Kelley said talking about Paschall too much only brought back sadness.
His players agreed.
“Everybody felt it, but all we could do is just play basketball,” said Cuevas, one the country’s top juniors. “We can’t do anything else.”
Getting in the gym after returning from a tournament in California on Wednesday reminded them of all the good things about Paschall, one of the country’s most well known girls basketball coaches. Nazareth played like Paschall would have wanted them too.
“He really wouldn’t want us to be worried about him,” said Fay, a junior forward “He would want us to do what he knew we can do and play.”
Fay, who missed all last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, is beginning to break out. She scored inside and out and helped fellow forwards Yasmine Belk and Sofia Roma neutralize Archbishop Williams’ forwards Alana Gilmer and Jaylen Williams. Performances like this will help Fay get noticed by the numerous college coaches in attendance.
“A lot of people don’t know Jen,” Kelley said. “I’m hoping this season everyone gets to know her.”
The coach called this game his team’s most complete effort so far. Nazareth broke the game open with a 9–0 run over the third and fourth quarters to grab a 53–38 lead. Kelley said his team was sluggish against Willingboro and it was important for them to play a game without any let ups.
“This is the first game we played this season with a full game of good intense basketball,” Kelley said. “I’m very happy with them today.”Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
©2013 Community News Group
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