Written by Eric Holden Friday, 11 March 2011 00:00
Senior guard Barbara Sullivan scored a game-high 15 points and junior forward Christina Mangels added 13 to lead the Garden City Lady Trojans to a 46-40 victory over the Division Lady Dragons on Saturday afternoon at C.W. Post.
The Lady Trojans (18-3) were the No. 2 seed in the Class A playoff bracket, while the Lady Dragons (19-2) were ranked No. 1 in the conference and the defending Nassau County champions.
Winning the county title proved to hinge on the in-game battle between Mangels and Division’s 6’0” center Kristen Stuart. The sizable foes stood toe-to-toe and neutralized each other in the paint, which opened up the perimeter game for each team’s sharpshooters.
Division Senior Guards Taylor Malings and Breanne Connolly took advantage of the spacious outside lane, hitting back-to-back three-pointers in the seventh minute of action to give the Lady Dragons a 12-10 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Lady Dragons’ Junior Guard Susan Ballantyne banked a long-range trey with 51 seconds left in the second quarter to send Division into halftime with a 19-17 lead. The game was tied at 26-all with four minutes left in the third quarter, but Garden City opened up a six-point edge on back-to-back treys from juniors Jess Stein and Kim Ryan.
“We struggled to hit the big shots in our last two playoff games,” said Sullivan. “When Jess hit a shot from beyond the arc and then Kim followed it up, it really got us rolling.”
The Lady Dragons committed 10 team fouls in the second half, and Garden City cashed in on the mistakes with clutch free throw shooting.
When Division senior Christina Rea closed to gap to 43-40 on a layup with 25 seconds left in the game, the Lady Dragons had no choice but to foul Jess Stein on the following possession. Stein hit a clutch foul shot with 18 seconds left in regulation to push the lead to 44-40, making it a two-possession game and not enough time left to mount a comeback.
“This is Head Coach Anthony Sparacia’s first county championship,” said Sullivan. “I’m glad we got it done for him.”
Garden City played Glenn in the Long Island Class A Championships on Friday, March 11 at Hofstra, while Division looks ahead to returning to action next season.