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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – When Crista Scognamiglio first started her Pearl River basketball career as an eighth-grader, the Pirates captured the Section 1 Class A championship. Scognamiglio spent the next few years chasing a second gold ball, but the elusive trophy was always just out of reach.
This was most evident in last year’s heartbreaking loss in the championship game against Peekskill in which the Pirates lost a 21-point second half lead.
On Sunday, Scognamiglio and Pearl River’s other seniors’ careers came full circle as the Pirates took back the Gold Ball, defeating Tappan Zee 39-33 in the Section 1 Class A championship at the Westchester County Center.
“It’s so amazing; it means a lot to me and the rest of the seniors,” said Scognamiglio, who’ll play at Fairfield. “It means so much more to do it in my last year. It was my last shot at winning it and we finally did it.”
Scognamiglio took home the game’s MVP posting 10 points, four rebounds and five steals.
“This is something the seniors really wanted to do as a group,” Pearl River coach Lorraine Moylan siad. “They tasted it when they were eighth graders and they wanted to go out senior year.”
Fellow senior Allison Cook made the all-tournament team, posting a game-high 15 points including three 3-pointers. Seniors Kerry Sullivan and Cristy Carty had great all-around games with Sullivan posting six points, four rebounds and five steals and Carty adding six points, four assists, six rebounds and four steals.
Crista’s sister, Missy, made plays on the defensive end, notching seven steals to go along with her two points.
“We came out strong and died down a little bit,” Cook said. “But at halftime we said ‘this is our shot.’ We had been here two times before and lost; that was not happening again.”
It wasn’t the prettiest game in the world though as both Pearl River and Tappan Zee posted two-point quarters. Pearl River shot 4 for 24 (17-percent) from behind the arc and Tappan Zee shot 38-percent from the floor.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s ugly,” Moylan said. “I think the key was that we locked them down. They didn’t get easy shots off in the second half and we possessed the ball when we needed to.”
Tappan Zee’s Erica Richards and Kristen McLaughlin both made the all-tournament team. Richards scored a team-high 12 points in the championship while McLaughlin had four points, seven rebounds and four assists. Teammate Devona Paul had eight points and five rebounds and Regina Argenzio had seven points.
“Their defensive pressure gave us trouble big time,” said Tappan Zee coach Tom Cromer. “They did to us what we didn’t want to happen; we played in a hurry. We gave them a lot of extra possessions and a lot of turnovers. You can’t do that against any good team. We fought the whole time, but when you want to win a big game you have to play on both sides of the ball. Pearl River did that a little better tonight.”
Sleepy Hollow’s Jamie Bucci and Albertus Magnus’ Maeve Parahus rounded out the all-tournament team.