Volume 16 • Issue 32 | January 9 - 15, 2004


Practicing picks, passes and boards at I.S. 89

By Erin Bruehl

Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

I.S. 89 girls team at practice this week.

One only need enter the third floor of I.S. 89 on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon and hear the pounding of feet and balls on the floor, to know that basketball season is back.

The I.S. 89 Cougars, both boys and girls, are looking to start 2004 with a bang. The girls team, under the leadership of Alex Lee, is looking to build on their 1-0 record in 2004. Back from the break for the holidays, students practice on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The players are looking to forward to an exciting season of hard work, having fun as a team, and according to Lara Boch, they want to win more games than the boys.

Lee and the boys’ coach, Blake Hepburn, lead the teams as part of Manhattan Youth’s afterschool program at I.S. 89.

Everyone has their own goals for the season. Ania Hallenbeck says they want to win a lot of games and “become good friends.” Erica Turett agrees that team bonding is important.

“We have to have fun as a team,” she said. “Last year we did team outings and lunch in Alex’s room and it was a lot of fun. I like stuff like that.”

Qituwra Muhammad loves the competition of the game, as well as her teammates. “I like the challenge,” she said. “It’s like you enter a whole different world. And we become like a family.” This is her first year on this team but she has been playing basketball for the last six years. She likes all her teammates and especially wanted to thank Tricia Fratta for “helping me with my dribbling.”

Tricia has been on the team for three years and really enjoys it. “I like shooting,” she said. “I hope we win a lot this year. We’ve got a pretty good team.” But she too, just wants to have fun. “Even if we don’t win, I hope we have fun.”

Hannah Boykoff enjoys basketball as a sport and has a goal for the season to shoot a lot of baskets while Hannah Moch and Latreecha Overton are hoping for winning seasons their first years on the team, both on the court and off as teammates.

Tuesday was team picture day and Alex took individual photos of each player, to be put up in the hallway, while the rest of the team practiced shooting.

Robin Campbell of the I.S. 89 Cougars dribbles as Matthew Leung defends.

The boys team is hoping to start 2004 on a winning note after a tough 0-3 start to their season. They have goals to win as many games as they can and to enjoy being a team.

Eriberto Garcia likes taking shots the best and wants the team to have a good record for his first season on the team while Michael Barbosa likes dribbling and crossing people over the best. He has a goal to dunk at least once this season.

Dunking is also a goal for Johnny Burden, who like Barbosa is about 5’ 8”.

Burden enjoys playing basketball. “It is something I’m good at,” he said. “And I enjoy the team.”

Tyler Sinclair wants to win a lot of games and likes having fun with the team, as does Alik Robertson. He has goals to make his shot better and to work on his defense this season.

The competition of basketball is appealing to Nelson Vergara and it is his favorite sport. He wants to get more rebounds this year and practice his moves down-low.

Amos Gweh said he likes to score, but he is also looking to help the team other ways too. “I like posting up and taking it to the rack,” he said. “My goals are to set more picks and get more rebounds.”

Robin Campbell likes making three-pointers as well as being on the team and has a goal to “get a rebound off a tall guy.”

Defense is a priority for Edison Chow this season as well as shooting, while Lee Feiner just wants to have fun with the team.

After 45 minutes of classroom instruction, the boys had a thorough practice on the court on Tuesday with work on lay-ups, rebounding, as well as passing and defense. Work on the 2-3 zone defense and drills in cutting off opponents’ passing lanes evolved into rotating player scrimmages of four minutes each.

The boys play their first game of 2004 on Jan. 15 at I.S. 89 versus Baruch B at 3:30 p.m. The boys also play at Clinton at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 20. On January 22, the girls play at 3:30 p.m. at Clinton and the boys play Baruch A at home at 4:30 p.m.


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