On this day two years ago, the girls’ basketball team won just the third Regional Championship in school history with a 38-34 win over Tuxedo. In a performance that signified the team’s perseverance, the Blue and White overcame the absence of Sadie Singer and foul trouble to join the 1998 boys’ soccer team and the 2008 girls’ soccer team as the only others to have earned a berth in the New York State semifinals.
The girls knew it would be a difficult task to take down the Tornadoes after losing starting point guard Singer to an ACL tear in the Suffolk County B-C-D Championship two weeks earlier. The girls advanced past Oyster Bay in the Long Island Championship without their stalwart ball-handler, but could they compete without her at the state level? Sophomore Jess Winston quelled those questions as she stepped into the prodigious gap left by Singer to lead the offense.
As a tight game entered its final chapter, our girls had to overcome not only the loss of Singer, but Brannon Burke and Donna Liotine who exited the game after fouling out. Without three starters, the Brook still did not wilt under the adversity. Alex Angove and Candace Baker played well in crucial minutes down the stretch, All-State forward Danielle Spiliotis spearheaded the offense, and Andraya Spiliotis scored the biggest basket of the game, a putback that gave the Brook a two-point edge with 1:07 remaining.
As the final seconds ticked away the girls poured onto the court to celebrate the historic triumph as a strong Stony Brook delegation cheered them on.
Before the Stony Brook girls basketball team took the floor at Hofstra University Friday for a state quarterfinal against Tuxedo (Section IX) they heard some final parting words.
“I wouldn’t mind playing one more week,” coach Keith Singer told the players.
Apparently, neither did they.
With a scrappy 38-34 win, the Bears (18-4) advanced to a Class C state semifinal next Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. Stony Brook will play the winner of Hoosic Valley (II) vs. Ticonderoga (VII), a game that will be played Saturday afternoon.
“I’m just taking it all in,” Stony Brook senior Danielle Spiliotis (16 points) said after accepting the Southeast Regional championship trophy with co-captain Sadie Singer. “I’m so excited.”
The Bears thought they would beat Tuxedo (19-5) if they held them under 35 points. They did, by the slimmest margin possible, and they also made key shots down the stretch, including several free throws in a game that was riddled with fouls and chances from the fine.
Off one of those opportunities – a missed free throw by Spiliotis with the score tied at 33 and 1:07 remaining – her sister Andraya Spiliotis converted a putback to put the Bears up by two. From there, Stony Brook held Tuxedo to just one point, and Jessica Winston and Danielle Spiliotis combined for three free throws. The final two by Spiliotis provided the final margin with 7.9 seconds left. The Bears did all this without two starters (Donna Liotine and Brannon Burke), who both fouled out early in the fourth quarter.
A tough pressing defense by visiting Tuxedo, led by Devon Espel (12 points), forced many turnovers and the score was close throughout. Stony Brook bent, but didn’t break.
“We had a number of turnovers,” Singer said, “but defensively, I was so pleased with the effort. The girls did everything we asked them to do.”