Bridgit Ryan leads Harborfields to Suffolk 'A' crown
Oddly enough, the screams coming from the Harborfields bench after the final buzzer was the team's prelude to "Pitch Perfect."
"We're gonna celebrate this the best way we can," forward Kristen Kelly said. "We're headed to my house and we're popping in that movie!"
The Tornadoes earned their movie night -- and a plaque -- with a 49-36 win over Glenn Friday night in the Suffolk Class A girls basketball final at St. Joseph's College. The victory avenged losses to the Knights in the previous two championships.
"It's so exciting because we finally got it done," said senior Bridgit Ryan, whose team lost, 47-45, to the Knights in last season's final. "We finally beat them."
Ryan had 19 points, 15 rebounds and snagged three of her five steals in the last four minutes as top-seeded Harborfields (19-1) knocked off the defending Long Island champs. Amy Werbitsky added 10 points and seven rebounds and Kelly had nine points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
The little sisters overcame, in part, because they were bigger. Literally. The Tornadoes took advantage with a tall lineup that featured the 5-11 Ryan at point guard, countering No. 3 Glenn's guard-heavy roster in which its tallest starter was 5-8.
"We'll never stray far from our strengths," Harborfields coach Russ Tietjen said. As it turned out, strength was one of those strengths.
The graduation of Allison McKenna, Glenn's 6-3 center and Newsday's 2012 Player of the Year, certainly helped size become an advantage for the Tornadoes.
"Being bigger was great for us this time around," said Ryan, one of five Tornadoes over 5-10. "If we were guarded on the perimeter, we took it inside."
The Tornadoes took control with a 17-5 first quarter, but had to withstand second-half surges from the Knights, who charged back with their outside shooting. Monika Sivilli’s jumper pulled Glenn within 40-31 in the fourth, but Ryan responded immediately, shooting over a defender for a three with 4:46 remaining. Kelly hit three free throws down the stretch to create the final margin.
Meaghan Haber and Tanna Mohammed each scored 10 points for Glenn (18-3).
"Losing to them two years in a row really stung," Kelly said, "but I couldn't be more proud of my team right now. We really came up big tonight."