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With the memory of the four-point loss in last year’s NYSAISAA C Division championship game still in their minds, the Hackley girls’ basketball team started their quest back to the championship by defeating Sleepy Hollow 52-33 to take the 20th Annual Sleepy Hollow Holiday Tournament.
Nia Yancopoulas earned the tournament’s MVP, scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
“Our defense was the key today,” Yancopoulas said. “We really buckled down and played four quarters of defense; something we want to try and do every game. Our forwards played great and we played well together. I’m really proud of our team; everyone really contributed today.”
Teammate Allie Coppola was named to the all-tournament team, scoring nine points and grabbing 24 rebounds in the championship just two days after scoring 29 points in the semifinals on Thursday. Sophomore Stefanie Frolo scored 13 points and had nine rebounds and Patricia Gorman had 10 points and five rebounds.
“I think we really picked it up today,” said Hackley coach Shelagh Amann. “Nia played great, our forwards played tough; it was a great performance all-around. We only lost one senior from last year’s team, so this is what we expected. We struggled a little bit in our game the other night, but tonight’s performance is sort of what we’ll be looking for this year.”
Sleepy Hollow played tough but couldn’t compete with Hackley on the glass. Hackley grabbed almost three times as many rebounds as the Headless Horsemen.
“They killed us inside,” said Sleepy Hollow coach Nick Romeo. “I think almost all of their points came in the point or close to it. We wanted to try and slow down Coppola and we held her to nine points but it was their other players that got it done. It’s a little disappointing because I don’t think we played our best, but the credit goes to Hackley because they kept us from playing our best. They made us uncomfortable and did a nice job defensively.”
Senior Jamie Bucci played well in the loss, scoring 12 points and recording 6 steals. Freshman Alex Davis added 10 points.
After the game, Hackley reflected on the tournament win and their goals for the season.
“This was definitely important to start the season off right,” Coppola said. “We have really high expectations with so many returning players so this was a good way to get back into season form. Hopefully we can continue this throughout and it ends up in a championship.”
Frolo agreed with Coppola’s expectations.
“We have a great team returning this year, so we have some big goals,” Frolo said. “Last year we made it all the way to the championship game and we lost by four. This year we want to go all the way.”