Roller-coaster ride over for St. Francis, so what’s next?
by Bryan Fonseca
Mar 09, 2016 | 7981 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Coach Glenn Braica
Coach Glenn Braica
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St. Francis looks ahead to next year and the return of Glenn Sanabria, who was off to a hot start before a shoulder injury ended his season.
St. Francis looks ahead to next year and the return of Glenn Sanabria, who was off to a hot start before a shoulder injury ended his season.
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Yunus Hopkinson
Yunus Hopkinson
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After emerging as one of the tri-state area’s hottest teams late in the regular season, the St. Francis Terriers men’s basketball team (15-17, 11-7 NEC) were on the receiving end of a crushing home loss in the Northeast Conference tournament quarterfinal, ending their run in disappointment.

Despite leading 34-24 at halftime and by as many as 14 points in the Wednesday night affair, the Terriers could not withstand a forceful Mount Saint Mary’s comeback. The Mountaineers (14-18, 10-8 NEC) outscored the Terriers 36-17 in the second half en route to a bruising 60-51 victory.

“We didn’t play as well as we could today but give Mount credit, I thought that they did a really good job,” Terriers head coach Glenn Braica said in the post-game presser. “It doesn’t take away from the way I feel about these guys. These guys are a special group. They faced a lot of adversity this year and responded — unfortunately we didn’t get it done tonight.”

The loss marks the end of the sixth season at the helm for Braica, whose career record in Brooklyn Heights stands at (98-91, 63-41 NEC).

“I can’t say to enough people the job Glenn has done here at St. Francis New York,” Mount head coach Jamion Christian said after the game. “When you look at his time here he’s found ways to win with different types of teams year in and year out. There’s not a guy that I respect more in our league, and his ability to coach a team and play at the highest level.”

The roller-coaster SFC campaign began with a 1-4 start, which later evolved into a 3-7 record as the Boys from Brooklyn began the 2015-16 season with the likes of Louisville, Saint Louis, Boston College and St. John’s among others.

The Terriers entered NEC play with a 4-9 record, and started behind the eight ball after losing their first two league road games at FDU and Mount Saint Mary’s respectively.

The subsequently responded with two home wins, followed by alternating victories and defeats over the course of their next eight match-ups. This left them at 10-15 (6-6 NEC) after upsetting then top-seeded FDU at home, 85-71, on February 6.

After falling to the rival LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds on ESPN U on February 15 as part of Rivalry Week, the Terriers again responded to adversity, winning four straight games to cap-off the season as the NEC’s four seed after initially ranking fifth by the league’s coaches in the preseason poll.

Mount, whom the Terriers lost to in the playoffs, were selected as the preseason favorites.

Individual honors for the Terriers were led by senior forward Amdy Fall, who became only the fourth player in conference history to win Defensive Player of the Year in multiple seasons. Fall led the NEC with 2.3 blocks per game, and averaged 5.6 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game in his final campaign at SFC.

Classmate and fellow forward Chris Hooper was one of three Terriers named to the All-NEC third team. In spite of coming off the bench for 22 of his 32 appearances, the 6-foot-6 post presence averaged 11.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.0 steals per contest.

While playing in his sixth man role, Hooper put up 12.0 points and grabbed 4.8 boards per game.

Guards Tyreek Jewell and Yunus Hopkinson also took home All-NEC third team honors, establishing themselves as one of the league’s best backcourts.

Jewell will graduate SFC having been the 2015-16 teams scoring leader with 12.9 points per contest, and he also led the NEC in rebounds for players under 6-foot-3, averaging 5.6.

The Bronx native also garnered a reputation for his outstanding perimeter defense, normally guarding the best opposing scoring on a game-by-game basis.

Hopkinson, the only non-senior to earn a prestigious post-season award, became Brooklyn’s breakout darling. The junior floor general averaged 12.2 points and a team-best 2.9 assists per game.

Hopkinson played 28.8 minutes per contest and started in 25 out of 32 games this season after averaging 10.2 minutes and 2.5 points in his first two seasons. He also became one of the leagues best three-point shooters, going 75-of-206 (36.4 percent), leading St. Francis in makes, attempts and percentage from beyond the arc.

Statistically, the 5-foot-10 Lee Academy product will return as the team’s best player for 2016-17.

He will likely be (re)joined by fellow point guard Glenn Sanabria, who will enter the upcoming 2016-17 season as a redshirt-sophomore after receiving a medical redshirt for the 2015-16 campaign, where he played in six games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

Before his injury, Sanabria was averaging 8.5 points and 3.2 assists as the team’s starting point guard, and this was against the aforementioned stiff non-conference schedule.

As a freshman, the Staten Island native averaged 6.0 points and 2.1 assists as the primary back-up to the schools all-time assist leader Brent Jones, and Sanabria also led the NEC in three-point percentage, hitting 45 percent (31-of-69) from deep.

Moving forward, other notables include Gunnar Olafsson, Keon Williams, Dagur Jonsson and Jon Doss.

Olafsson, a guard, will be entering his junior season after starting 24-of-27 games as a sophomore. The defensive-minded wing player averaged 3.7 points per game.

Williams, and Jonsson, both of whom saw significant playing time as freshmen, are expected to be playing for pivotal spots as sophomores.

Williams started 7-of-28 games, averaged 2.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, and was also noted for his perimeter defense. Jonsson averaged 4.1 points and 1.3 assists as the team’s back-up point guard.

Doss, one of the team’s primary threats from three, averaged 4.0 points per game and shot 23-of-76 (30.3 percent) from deep. Doss will enter his senior season next year.

One freshman newcomer will include current Thomas Jefferson starting point guard Rasheen Dunn, whose team will play in the PSAL “AA” finals against Lincoln at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, March 12. Last December, Dunn signed a National Letter of Intent to play for St. Francis starting in 2016-17.
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