The Amity Lady Spartans faced off against Tigers from Daniel Hand for the SCC Semifinals Monday evening at Jonathan Law High School.
As a single elimination game, both teams badly wanted the win.
The Tigers quickly got the upper Hand on Amity with a 2 point lead, then the Lady Spartans rallied and took a 10-2 lead for most of the quarter. But the girls from Hand would not have any of that, they fought back and finished the quarter at 13 – 10.
In the second quarter, Amity came out strong with a will to overtake the Tigers. It was a tight, action filled 8 minutes with the Lady Spartans coming within 1 to 2 points of their opponents: 17-12; 17-16; 19-16; 19-17; 23-17; and at the buzzer it was 27-17 Hand.
The third quarter was a heartbreaker beginning with the 31-17 lead Hand had in the first 1:30 minutes. Still Amity didn’t throw in the towel, Katie Helfenbein and Elise Graham scored a combined 14 points, but the closest they came to Hand was 9 points, at 40-31 with only 2:07 remaining in the quarter.
Hand retained their lead at 44-31.
Even though they were behind … this was an important game … the Lady Spartans were not about to let it go.
Junior Elise Graham went out there like a category 5 tornado, taking every opportunity to race across the court and take a shot. She made 9 points (including one 3 pointer) for the Spartans.
For the Tigers, foul shots were their friend in the final quarter, scoring 10 points in fouls along with 12 in regular play.
They were merciless in their drive for the win, never letting Amity get within less than 10 points.
Hand won this game 66-44 and will play Mercy for the SCC Championship title.
A tearful Graham, who scored 29 points this evening, was comforted by her former teammate Chloe Brinton and other players after the game. She and fellow junior Molly Dragan walked back to the bus together.
Amity Coach Michelle Shoop, although disappointed in the outcome, had nothing but positive things to say about her girls after the game.
“I am so proud of the girls. Hand is a great team, they have an awesome inside and outside game, so I’m proud of how hard we worked,” she said. “We had two tough, tough games leading up to this, and they gave everything they had so I am really proud of them.”
This is not the end of the road for the Lady Spartans.
“We have states on Monday, it’s another tough one, but after what I’ve seen from these girls, I know they can do anything,” Shoop said.
For Amity — Graham scored 29 points (including three 3-pointers); Katie Helfenbein had 9 points; and Molly Dragan contributed 6 points.
For Hand — Geena Catelano scored 17 points; Paula Materin had 12; and Gaby Martin contributed 10.
Show of Support: After his daughter made two consecutive 2-pointers In the fourth quarter, proud father, Derek Graham ran from the top of the bleachers to the floor and back up again, high-fiving Amity fans in the stands.