Nora Elbassiony and Brittany McDonough have been good friends ever since attending the fourth grad at Bay Academy in Sheepshead Bay.
The pair then took their talents to the Lady Hornets AAU team, and an emerging program at nearby Leon Goldstein High School.
That move had been a successful one for the duo. Goldstein was runners-up in the PSAL Class B championship game as freshmen, won the ‘B’ title as sophomores and had a respectable run through the Class A playoffs a year ago.
And now Elbassiony and McDonough will compete for the PSAL Class A title after helping lead Goldstein to a 68-59 win against fourth-seeded Lab Museum Sunday at Hunter College.
Both players recognized a sense of urgency in the fourth quarter as Lab Museum threated to complete a comeback after trailing 21-0 in the first quarter. The pair made it count with a game-changing hustle play with 4:40 remaining in the fourth quarter and Goldstein only leading by two points.
Elbassiony missed the back end of two free throws, but the shooting guard recovered the loose ball in the corner. She threw it across the court to a wide-open McDonough, who drilled a 3-pointer to increase the Dolphins lead to 55-49 and relieve the pressure that was building.
“In the second half, it was whoever wants it more, and we want this,” McDonough said.
Lab Museum used its defense to revive its hopes in the third quarter to slice into what was an 11-point halftime deficit. Marshall University signee Jennifer Ramirez had 14 points and recorded 10 steals, and Ashanti Plummer added 16 points.
“Jennifer was outhustling us. We were winning by 20 in the beginning and we didn’t want to drop that lead,” Elbassiony said. “We want to stay ahead the whole game.”
The Chestnut Hill-bound McDonough scored a game high 21 points, and Elbassiony scored 10 of her 17 in the fourth quarter to advance No. 1 Goldstein into the PSAL A title game against No. 2 Curtis Sunday at City College.
Goldstein has been angered in recent weeks hearing talk it didn’t deserve the top-seed in the Class A playoffs. Elbassiony said that her team didn’t schedule many non-league opponents to limit the number of possible injuries and save their energies for the playoffs.
“Everyone talks about why we shouldn’t have been the number one seed and now we are going to the championship,” Elbassiony added. “We’re going to keep playing because it’s not over.”