Senior guard leads Fontbonne to victory

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The Bonnies were down at the half, so Cindy Henderson stepped up.

Fontbonne Hall coach Steve Oliver pulled his senior guard aside during the midway break and put it to her plain and simple — the Bonnies were struggling to score and he was counting on her to lead them to victory. Henderson, who scored eight points, went to work on both ends of the hardwood and earned her team a hard-fought 30–26 win over the visiting St. John’s Prep Red Storm in Brooklyn–Queens Division II girls basketball last Wednesday.

Henderson said she was happy to help when Oliver asked.

“He doesn’t disappoint me as a coach, so, I didn’t want to disappoint him as a player,” she said.

She turned three steals into lay-ups in the second half and drew her third charge of the game on Red Storm star Carla Marfe to foul her out with 1:46 left in the contest. Meanwhile, the Bonnies grasped a tenuous 26–24 lead. Marfe led St. John’s Prep with eight points.

“Cindy’s toughness was a big part of us winning this game,” said Oliver.

The Bonnies needed one last-gasp effort to seal the win. Siobhan Sammon hustled back on defense to block Nicole Shweit from behind on what could have been the tying lay-up. Kate Oliver — who put in 10 points on the night — would score in transition to provide the final margin.

“I just knew I had to step on her and try not to foul,” said Sammon, who added two late jumpers.

Coach Oliver was happy with the win, but wants to see his team get more production in the paint. Hurricane Sandy limited practice time early on and left four players living out of suit cases, their homes wrecked. Fontbonne, the defending diocesan champion, is still trying to catch its stride.

“The intensity is just not quite there yet,” Oliver said.

He hopes the Bonnies’ trip to San Diego for three games in the Surf and Slam tournament during Christmas week will raise their spirits. There was a time following Sandy when the tournament trip seemed unlikely to happen, but that doubt has passed thanks to the support of parents and players. The team managed to raise $5,000 through a raffle sale and the winner, Breezy Point resident Tom Wipf, gave $1,000 back to the team so they’d be well fed on the journey.

With all the chaos and hardship, the Bonnies are looking forward to a little fun in the sun.

“It’s just to get away from everything, relieve your stress, play basketball with my team, and have fun,” Henderson said.

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

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