Courier Life’s

For South Shore, a chance for greatness

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The South Shore girls basketball team hasn’t won a championship during the last five years despite a string of talented squads. This year’s team isn’t the greatest of the bunch, but it may have the best chance of bringing home the first title in the school’s history.

Many pundits, including this reporter, believed that last year was coach Anwar Gladden’s most talented club, and subsequently picked it to go all the way despite the fact that Murry Bergtraum High School had a stranglehold on the crown.

The Vikings had four Division-I caliber players, but were upset in the semifinals by McKee-Staten Island Tech, and Bergtraum won for the 14th straight time — a fact that still eats at South Shore.

“The pain still lingers,” Gladden said.

Now, for the second straight season, South Shore heads into the Public School Athletic League Class AA playoffs as the top seed, this time unbeaten in league play. The field is not as tough as it was a year ago and the Vikings possess a frontcourt of Iona-bound Aurellia Cammock and sophomore Brianna Fraser who have the potential to dominate.

Earning the top seed leaves South Shore an easier road to Madison Square Garden for the title game. The next two best teams in the league, Bergtraum and Curtis, will likely face each other in the other semifinal.

Still, the players take nothing for granted.

“We had the No. 1 seed last season and we see where that got us,” Cammock said. “I feel we have to turn it up. The No. 1 seed means nothing. It isn’t a title.”

She wants a different crown.

The Vikings will likely face either No. 4 Brooklyn Collegiate, which it beat twice this season, or No. 5 Truman, which it beat by 15 in the semifinals. There will be no unfamiliarity like there was in the semifinal last season. There is a possibility of a trap game in the quarters against a scrappy No. 8 John F. Kennedy team or a talented No. 9 Midwood club.

If the squad gets through, it will have to beat either Bergtraum or Curtis — not both — in the final. It’s no easy task, as both teams would have an advantage at the guard spots. No one has beaten Begtraum at the Garden in more than a decade and Curtis can light it up from the 3-point range on any given night.

Still, anything can happen in one game, and I like the Vikings’ chances with Cammock, Fraser and sweet-shooting wing Aliyah Cooley. Neither Curtis nor Bergtraum have an easy answer for those three.

This is South Shore’s best chance at an elusive city title. Now it’s up to the players to seize it.

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.

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