South Shore High School Makes Basketball History

The Shore High School Girls Basketball Team. Photo by Aidan Graham

Canarsie’s South Shore High School, 6565 Flatlands Avenue, will make New York City high school basketball history this weekend, as both the boys and girls varsity basketball teams will play for the PSAL (Public School Athletic League) championship – the first time in league history a school has accomplished the feat.  

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Founded in 1903, the PSAL is the longest running scholastic athletic program in the country. Providing more than 37,000 students across 400 High Schools access to 22 varsity sports. South Shore represents only one of 201 boys, and 175 girls PSAL basketball teams.

Barclays Center will play host to the event, where the Lady Vikings, 14-1 (18-6 overall) from South Shore will take on Manhattan’s Brooklyn’s Murry Bergtraum High School, the tournament’s number one and two seeded teams, respectively.

South Shore, under the leadership of Coach Anwar Gladden, has led the girls to three straight championship titles. The team has played well in the previous two games of the tournament, winning by a combined 86 points.

Hoping to stop South Shore’s run of consecutive titles, Murry Bergtraum also won their previous two games by healthy margins.

The South Shore boys, 10-4, (13-5 overall) also entered the playoffs ranked number one overall, but lack the championship hardware of their female counterparts. They hope to change that, under the tutelage of Coach Pat Trani, as they take on number three ranked Benjamin Cardozo High School of Queens.  

The South Shore Boys Basketball Team. Photo by Aidan Graham

The Vikings also come out of Brooklyn’s tough AA Division Basketball league, where they split contests – winning one and losing one – to East New York’s Thomas Jefferson High School and Coney Island’s Lincoln High School.

On the idea of having both South Shore teams represented on championship weekend, Trani simply said, “It does great things for our school.” Gladden went further, adding, “This is big for our community.”

At yesterday’s PSAL press conference previewing the championship teams, all four coaches attempted to go beyond just sports, instilling positive messages of brotherhood, community, and the importance of education.

“Whatever happens Saturday, there’s another phase to life. And that’s academics,” advised Gladden.

Another life lesson came after Cardozo Coach Ron Naclerio’s tearful story of a dying parent told his players, “Somebody’s gonna lose on Sunday, but nobody’s gonna lose the game of life.”

The girls championship will tip-off at 9:45 a.m, followed by the boys at 11:30 am.