Garden School Lady Griffins Clinch Playoff Berth
The Garden School Lady Griffins varsity basketball team held off Columbia Prep, 54-52, on Thursday, February 12 to clinch the final playoff spot in the Girls Independent Schools Athletic League (GISAL) Division I. The Jackson Heights squad returns to post-season action after a four-year absence. "If we win, we are in. This is it, there are no second chances," Coach John Vogel declared.
The LGs knew that they had their backs against the wall and had to come out of the locker room fighting for the entire 32 minutes. Senior Captains Daniela Triana and Tatiana Ambarsom, were plagued by foul trouble the entire game. Vogel had to rely upon the reserves to play quality minutes.
The entire ball club responded to eke out the two-point victory. Garden built a 14-point advantage with 4:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Lions went on a 12-0 spurt to close the gap to 52-50 with 1:23 on the clock. Both schools exchanged baskets, and then Garden's defense prevented the visitors from scoring for the final 20 seconds.
Sophomore Claudia Kostich led GS with 16 points. Larissa Ambarsom netted 12 points, which included going six for seven from the charity stripe, and her twin sister, Nadia, summed nine points. Others notching baskets were Tatiana Ambarsom (seven points), Victoria Vogel (four points), Daniela Triana (three points) and Michelle White (three points). Columbia Prep's senior point guard, Tara Roach, led all scorers with a game-high 20 points. Kathryn Nathanson and Jillian Maron added 11 and nine points, respectively, for the Lady Lions.
"This was a team effort with every player contributing to the win, especially, Claudia, Cecilia and Michelle," Triana said. "With myself and Daniela in foul trouble, I'm grateful that the rest of the team was able to pick us up. I did not want to end my career without going to the playoffs. We've worked so hard and now it finally has paid off."
Earlier in the week, Garden held a brief ceremony honoring the three seniors prior to tip-off against Dominican Academy. Tatiana Ambarsom and Daniela Triana have donned the blue and white for the past six years, while Giana Mylan has been a member of the team for four years. Unfortunately, GS could not pull out a victory. The visitors from Manhattan outlasted the home team, 48- 42. Tatiana Ambarsom was the game's high scorer with 18 points. Triana contributed 11 points and Nadia Ambarsom tallied 9 points, knocking down 3 treys.
Garden School ended the regular season with an overall record of 12 wins and 10 losses. Within GISAL, the Lady Griffins posted a 4-6 record, finishing in fourth place. Garden School's Lady Griffins will square off against league champions Dwight School on Tuesday, February 24.