Sports in Schools:
A Senior Guards Helps Make Francis Lewis HS a Winner
A basketball team is not just one star player. It is a collection of players who come together for a common purpose. The girls varsity basketball team of Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows, Queens has been very successful in recent years.
The last three seasons, the Patriots have produced an impressive 84-9 record and have appeared in the title game of the Public School Athletic League the last two years.
A big reason for the Patriots’ success is the all around play of senior guard Diatiema Hill.
Hill, who will attend the University of Massachusetts next fall on a basketball scholarship, gets joy out of passing to an open player for a layup instead of scoring 30 points a game. Perhaps then, it is no accident that she is second in school history in assists, steals, and three-point field goals, according to her coach Mike Eisenberg.
Sometime this season, Hill will score her 1000th career point, a milestone for any player.
“That’s kind of a lot,” said Hill. “Not everyone gets 1,000.”
Eisenberg is impressed with Hill’s versatility. She can play the point guard and power forward positions. She leads the team in assists. She can step up and take a big shot.
“She’s always been team oriented,” Eisenberg said.
In high school it is not uncommon for a player to keep shooting until they score 20 or 30 points. But Hill knows that getting other players involved is the key to winning. “People say I pass the ball too much,” Hill said. “Scoring isn’t everything.”
Luckily for the Patriots, they have a scorer who fits in quite nicely with Eisenberg’s team-oriented approach. Vionca Murray averages just over 17 points and hauls in 8.3 rebounds per game. That leaves Hill to help manage the game on the court and control the tempo.
Last season, the Patriots had a 30-2 record and finished runner-up to Murray Bergtrum High School in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) post-season playoffs. This season, the Patriots are 7-0, having recently defeated Cardozo High School, a local rival. The Patriots also beat Midwood High School, one of the top teams in Brooklyn. Francis Lewis lost some starters from last season, but Hill is optimistic about this team. “Nobody believes we’re going to be a strong team,” said Hill. “I think we’re going to be pretty good.”
Hill says her mother is one of the biggest fans of the team. And she has been a big support to her during Hill’s high school career. “I know she’s my number one fan,” Hill said. Last year, the Patriots were in a tough game with John F. Kennedy High School of The Bronx. The Patriots were trailing 31-13 at half-time on JFK’s home court. “I don’t think everybody was on the same page,” Hill said in recalling that game. Her mother got to the gym and gave a look that said “we aren’t going to have this.” Hill credits her mom with spurring on the team and giving her some inspiration to play better. Francis Lewis stormed back to win by three points.
Hill knows that in order to play on the team you have to keep your grades up and currently has an 87 percent average in school. She says during her freshman year “I would just stay up real late and do my homework no matter what.” Now, four years later, basketball has given her a chance to go to college where she will major in Sports Management. “I want to be involved in sports and basketball,” Hill said.
The way it looks now, she has a pretty good chance.#