Whether you're trying to make the cut in a Broadway chorus audition, hail a cab in the Bronx during a blizzard or sell 20 tickets to a mid-April Mets-Pirates game outside Citi Field at face value, it can be pretty tough to get noticed in New York City.
And if you're any PSAL girls basketball team other than Bergtraum (New York City), it's darn near impossible to get more than two sentences on your game in the New York tabloids in a fiefdom generally ruled by CHSAA powerhouses.
That shouldn't be an issue anymore for South Shore (Brooklyn), which pulled off a weekend sweep that leaves no room for misunderstanding: The Vikings clearly are among the elite girls basketball teams in town.
South Shore scored two huge wins in a 24-hour span in the PSAL/JFK Challenge in the Bronx.
On Saturday, senior Jasmine Odom scored 19 of her 21 points in the second half to propel the Vikings to a 57-50 victory vs. St. Anthony's, widely regarded as the best team on Long Island.
Odom made a short floater and a 3-point basket on consecutive possessions midway through the fourth quarter for a 49-47 lead, and the Vikings never trailed again against the Friars, who own wins over Bronx JFK and Archbishop Wood, a Pennsylvania team that nearly picked off Nazareth during a weekend New York City trip.
On Sunday, the Vikings posted an equally impressive 53-42 victory over Mary Louis Academy as Odom led the way with 16 points and Aliyah Cooley added 13.
Cooley, who missed the first two months of the season following a hernia injury, made three 3-pointers to help offset 19 points by Karin Robinson of Mary Louis Academy. 3-pointers by Cooley and freshman Emmeri Archer keyed a 15-2 run for a 25-11 lead midway through the second quarter.
The Hilltoppers (11-4, with the previous losses only to Christ the King and Nazareth) cut South Shore's lead to eight midway through the fourth quarter, but Jenice Winter and Fannisha Price each made baskets to help South Shore build a 51-37 lead with 2:00 left.
BOYS BASKETBALL: SO CLOSE, SO DISAPPOINTING
What could have been the signature win on an already shining resume turned into a frustrating loss for Boys & Girls (Brooklyn) in the final of the SNY Invitational at Long Island University on Saturday.
The Kangaroos scored just five points in the final 12:44, surrendered a 12-point lead and bowed to St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 43-38. The Friars (14-0), a consensus top-five team nationally, outscored Boys & Girls 16-3 in the fourth quarter and 10-0 down the stretch.
"That's a heartbreaker," Boys & Girls point guard Antione Slaughter told The New York Post after Friars junior standout Kyle Anderson made two go-ahead free throws with 3:31 remaining. Anderson finished with 10 points and eight rebounds to earn MVP honors.
The Kangaroos jumped onto the national radar with a second-place finish in December at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and were ranked 22nd nationally in one publication last week in recognition of their victories over a number of high-profile teams including Winter Park (Fla.), Imhotep Charter School (Pa.), and Greater Atlanta Christian (Ga.).
But they let the opportunity for their biggest triumph yet slip away.
"We're definitely higher than (No.) 22," coach Ruth Lovelace told the paper. "Tell me one team in front of us that's beaten five or six nationally ranked teams."
MORE BASKETBALL: CORTLAND PICKS OFF J-D
Chalk this one up as surprising, but hardly shocking.
Junior forward J.P. Reagan (14 points) clinched Cortland's 55-51 upset of three-time defending state Class A boys champion Jamesville-DeWitt by sinking two free throws with :07 to play on Friday.
Cortland grabbed the lead for good at 53-51 on a putback by 6-5 junior Brandon Babcock, who finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.
J-D, second in the state in Class A, is 11-3 after winning its first 11 games of the season.
The defeat snapped the Red Rams' 21-game league winning streak, but it also came on the heels of a pair of losses in the Prime Time Shootout the previous weekend in West Virginia. The Red Rams may have still been licking their wounds over that, and Cortland (13-1) was fully prepared to take advantage.
"This win was huge for us. We know the caliber of team we beat," Cortland coach Mick Lowie said.
MILESTONES DOMINATE COACHING NEWS
Six hundred is the number of the week in New York:
* Red Hook boys basketball coach Rod Chando recorded his 600th victory with an 81-21 triumph vs. Webutuck. Chando, 62, began coaching in 1971 and is in his 37th season (he coached Ulster County Community College from 1979-82). He is 9-2 this season and 600-177 overall, good for sixth on the all-time state victories list. He's never had a losing season at Red Hook.
* By the way, colorful Ron Naclerio of Cardozo (Oakland Gardens), the top-ranked boys team in New York's Class AA, goes for his 600th career victory on Monday against All Hallows.
* Mt. Vernon) coach Bob Cimmino has been named to lead the East boys in the McDonald's All-American basketball games March 30 in Chicago.
* Duanesburg (Delanson) wrestling coach Joe Bena registered career win No. 600 recently when his squad went 3-2 at the Lansingburgh Duals. Bena is in his 45th season of coaching, having guided Niskayuna from 1968-2003, and has been enshrined in four halls of fame. He has coached 12 individual state champions.
ODDS AND ENDS
* Kevin Valenti scored his 100th career goal as Queensbury rolled past Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 7-0 in Capital District High School Hockey League action. Valenti's goal came on a two-on-two break early in the third period at Union College. He's the first Queensbury player to reach 100 goals.
* Aquinas sophomore midfielder Jordan Allen has earned a spot on the U.S. Under-17 men's national soccer team roster for training and two games in Jamaica. The games this week are warm-ups for the CONCACAF U-17 Championships. The top four teams will advance to the FIFA U-17 World Cup later this year.
John Schiano, who has written about high school sports in western and central New York for more than 25 years, covers New York for MaxPreps. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.