Yesterday evening, the girls’ basketball team topped Avenues, 50-28, in the semifinals of the PSAA Tournament, six years to the day of their last home playoff game, a 40-22 win over Pierson. It was the girls’ fifth straight home playoff victory to go along with wins in 2011 (40-21 vs. Southold), 2010 (51-28 vs. Pierson), and 2006 (43-29 vs. Southold).
The Bears wasted little time in grabbing control of the game as they held the Aviators without a field goal in the opening quarter while pouring in 18 points behind three 3-pointers from Beth Felix. The senior sharpshooter added a layup to give her 11 points in the opening frame while the defense limited Avenues to just four free throws. Avenues scored their first field goal early in the second quarter to bring the score to 20-6, at which point the Bears unleashed a 16-0 run to close the half. A Sarah Hull offensive rebound and putback ignited a surge that was further punctuated by a pair of Felix 3-pointers as the Brook carried a commanding 36-6 edge into the break.
The Bears’ complete first half dominance is what made the third quarter so baffling as the Bears were held without a single point. The Blue & White found no offensive rhythm and as their turnovers and missed shots mounted, the Aviators found their footing, mustering an impressive 15 points after an anemic six in the first half, cleaving their deficit back to 15 points. The agonizing quarter caused some uncomfortable shifting of seats among the Swanson faithful, but the Bears would summon one final push the turn back the Manhattanites.
Felix has always provided a lift when the Bears needed it and just 12 seconds into the quarter she stole the ball, laid it in, and drew the foul to stem the tide. After a Liz Robbins bucket pushed the lead back to 41-21, Felix followed with her sixth 3-pointer and the Bears were back in business on the way to clinching a second straight championship berth.
Felix led the way with 28 points and six steals while Niamh Scanlon added 9 points, Hull 6, and Robbins 3. With the win the Bears move on to this evening’s PSAA Championship vs. Portledge at 5:30pm.