Stuyvesant Phoenix Ready to Soar

The girls’ basketball team aims high for the playoffs after a blowout win against Seward Park Campus on December 19, 2018.

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The Phoenix, Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity basketball team, are ready to soar into the heart of their season with another victory against Seward Park Campus extending their previous 3-1 record. With home-field advantage on their side, the Phoenix dominated the Seward Lady Bears, winning 51-26 and establishing that they are a team to be reckoned with in the Manhattan A South Division.

The Phoenix had a bit of a difficult start to the first quarter, finishing up 10-4. Though they were able to consistently draw fouls to go to the free throw line, they were unable to capitalize. The team finished the game 2-14 from the line.“We definitely need to improve free throws. We missed 12 of them,” coach Vincent Miller said. In Stuyvesant’s only loss against Millennium High School, free throw shooting was also a major deciding factor in the game, with Millenium shooting 5-7 from the free throw line while Stuyvesant shot 6-14. Though the game was decided by 13 points, a few more free throws would have changed the dynamic down the stretch of the game.

Against Seward, however, the lack of free throw shooting did not slow down the Phoenix. Stuyvesant managed to get in a rhythm in the second quarter, utilizing their speed and strength to blow past defenders and score easy points in the paint. Senior and co-captain Alexandra Archer (the team’s second leading scorer with 15 PPG), scored all 8 of her points in the paint. Senior and co-captain Talia Kirshenbaum’s three-point shooting, which opened up lanes leading to easy offensive opportunities for Stuyvesant garnered a lot of attention from Seward Park’s defenders. The first half ended with a dominant 29-8 Stuyvesant lead. Kirshenbaum ultimately ended up as Stuyvesant’s leading scorer, with three 3-point field goals and 16 points.

During the third quarter, Seward Park started to get a bit of momentum, as they were only outscored 12-11. However, the 21 point lead that Stuyvesant had established at the end of the first half was too big of a deficit for Seward Park to come back from. Despite playing more aggressively on the offensive end, Seward Park fell apart by the end of the second half. The Phoenix played tight up-tempo defense, clogging passing lanes for Seward Park and making it difficult for the opposition to shoot from deep and drive in the paint. When asked about what he liked about what his team displayed in the match, Miller said, “I loved their hustle and transition during the fast break.”

However, the most dominant aspect of Stuyvesant’s play was its rebounding. The team corralled a whopping 57 rebounds, 23 of which came on the offensive end. On the other hand, Seward Park only managed to get a total of 38 rebounds. This gave the Phoenix many second chances to score and extend their lead. Three Phoenix players managed to get double-digit figures: Archer (10), junior Selene Kaehny (10), and Kirshenbaum (11). Kirshenbaum’s 11 boards complemented her 16 points to give her a double-double. “I like the aggressiveness and toughness we showed on the court,” Miller said of his team’s work on the boards.

With a 4-1 record, the Phoenix have high expectations for the rest of the season. “Our goals are making the playoffs and getting the highest seed possible,” Miller said. The Phoenix are now second in the standings for the Manhattan A South division, behind the 4-0 Millennium High School. Millennium's convincing win 54-41 against Stuyvesant at the start of the season is the Phoenix’s only blemish. Their rematch on January 30 will be telling in determining the better team. Expect the Phoenix to come out motivated with a chip on their shoulder and a chance at redemption on the line.