Curtis ends Bayside's Cinderella playoff run
Once St. Peter’s closed in June, it was going to take some time for Kristen Olsen to adjust to her new surroundings at Curtis.
One of a few players to reunite with former Eagles coach Bob Daggert, now at Curtis, the junior guard quickly got acclimated to her new teammates who play up-tempo and move the ball effectively on offense, a similar style to her former home with 15-time CHSAA Staten Island champions.
Olsen led the charge with an outside shooting display that quickly put No. 38 Bayside, the Cinderella of the PSAL Class A tournament, on its heels. With Olsen’s game-high 27 points, and 13 additional from Jessica Rosalbo, No. 2 Curtis returned to the finals with an 80-43 victory over the Lady Commodores in the PSAL ‘A’ semifinals Sunday at Hunter College.
“It feels good to win and come into a school and play like we know how to and try to win a city (title),” Olsen said.
The Warriors will make their second try at earning a title a year after an agonizing loss to Wings on a last-second 3-pointer by Aquillin Hayes. Curtis (20-8) takes on No. 1 Goldstein at 3 p.m. Sunday at CCNY.
The current group is a bit younger, and faster than last year’s more experienced squad. Daggett knows his team is quite effective when making their jump shots. With Olsen leading the way, Curtis jumped out a 12-2 lead and never relinquished its early advantage.
“We’re small, we played hard. Some night we make out threes, other nights we don’t,” Daggett said.” We made some today.”
The Lady Commodores had been riding an emotional wave since coach Steve Piorkowski had to depart the team in January to recover from a cancerous tumor in his neck. Bayside has been led on the sideline by a trio of JV basketball coach Steven Scharf, athletic director Joe Capuana and boys soccer coach Joe Corrado. The Commodores recorded three upsets over higher seeded teams, the last a comeback win against No. 3 Wings, the defending champions, Tuesday night.
Piorkowski made the trip to Hunter on Sunday, arriving in a wheelchair, to root his team on.
He greeted the team prior to the start of the second half with a huge smile and a pat on the back.
While the clock struck 12 on Bayside’s season, the inspiring run by his players had left an indelible mark on Piorkowski. Bayside (13-7) was led by Ashley Mitchell’s 16 points.
“These guys inspire me with their play to not quit. I got a bad break, I’m battling everything but things are going well. But when you’re an underdog and you get a 38th seed and rising to the top, it’s about confidence,” Piorkowski said. “They had a down day, a bad day and didn’t compete today, but the bigger picture is when it mattered in playoff games only being 9-6, they came up real big three times. After the third victory no one could say it was luck.”