- Last Updated: 1:48 AM, January 12, 2012
- Posted: 1:48 AM, January 12, 2012
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Amani Tatum’s game has matured on many levels.
“As the season is going on I think she is just getting better, better and better,” first-year Molloy coach Scott Lagas said, … “She’s got a pull up game, she’s got the 3-point game. She runs the team now. She’s a leader on the floor, so much more than just a quick girl who can drive to the basket. She is a complete player.”
Any thought of a fast start last season was hampered by ankle injuries, but she came on late to help lead the Stanners to a state Federation Class A girls basketball crown. This year it took her time to adjust to Lagas’s system and now the death of Exodus travel team coach Apache Paschall has been a driving force to Tatum’s best stretch of the season.
She scored 17 points in a CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I win over Mary Louis, including a floater to beat the third-quarter buzzer that swung the game's momentum. Tatum followed that up with 27 points against Immaculate Conception (Lodi, N.J.) in a win at A New Year’s Resolution in New Jersey and she had 21 in defeat to nationally ranked Nazareth on Wednesday.
“I decided I was going to take it upon myself and pull through with a win for my team," Tatum said of the Mary Louis game. “I know we needed it.”
Versus the Hilltoppers her fearless drives were the catalyst to s second-half comeback. Against Immaculate Conception,she put her total game on display. Tatum scored off steals, ran the fast break and knocked down 3-pointers. He responded to being crossed over badly by guard Kelcey Castro, by not trying to show her up, but by outplaying her.
“I guess this game I showed everything,” Tatum said after beating Immaculate Conception. … “It was just doing what I know I can do.”
Wednesday at Nazareth was emotional for her. She dedicated the win over TMLA to Paschall, the Lady Kingsmen’s former coach who died of a heart attack last Tuesday. She, along with teammate Kamille Ejerta. each presented his family with a flower during a pregame memorial. Both played for Exodus and combined to score the game's first five points.
“For me it was all aboyt being in the game mentally,” Tatum said. “It was tough at times, but I guess it was all about keeping my head in the game.”
Lagas didn’t know Paschall well, but felt Tatum epitomized what he was about. She spoke about being a leader after each contest and has continued to be one.
“From what I hear from the girls he instilled in the girls, ‘Just play no matter what the circumstance,’” Lagas said. "I think that she took that message that she learned from him.”Follow @NYPostsports