Christiana de Borja comes up big, leads Harborfields to LI Class A title

Harborfields teammates celebrate after their 56-50 win over

Harborfields teammates celebrate after their 56-50 win over North Shore in the varsity girls basketball Class A Long Island Championship at Farmingdale State College on March 7, 2014. Photo Credit: James Escher

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In the biggest game of the year, the smallest girl on the court came up huge.

On the biggest loose ball of the season, the smallest girl on the court reached highest for the rebound.

During the biggest free throws of the game, the smallest girl on the court stood tall at the line.

"Under pressure, I try my best to thrive," Christiana de Borja said. "Pressure is a privilege."

The smallest girl on the court was big in the fourth quarter, leading Harborfields to a 56-50 win over North Shore in the Long Island / Southeast Regional Class A championship Friday night at Farmingdale State College.

De Borja, a 5-1 freshman point guard, had 12 points and six assists. With the Tornadoes nursing a four-point lead in the final minute, she grabbed the rebound off a missed three and drained two free throws to increase the lead to 56-50 with 9.2 seconds remaining.

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That sealed a second straight L.I. championship for the Tornadoes (22-0), who won despite the absence of their leading scorer and rebounder, Donasja Scott, who didn't play because of illness.

"We've gone through so much adversity as a team this year and this was just another example," said Kristen Kelly, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds. "All 14 of our players can step up on any given night. So tonight, Christina de Borja stepped up."

But she wasn't the only one.

Alex Werbitsky, starting in place of Scott, recorded her second double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Toni Deren hit a three to give Harborfields a 49-39 lead with 5:46 remaining. But Caroline Robertson answered with a three and Alexandra Cant- well followed with a runner to trim the lead to five.

De Borja went coast-to-coast for the layup to make it 51-44. Robertson then made a runner plus the foul for a three-point play and Ashleigh Sheerin converted a layup to pull North Shore to within 51-49 with 2:32 to go.

De Borja sank four free throws in the final 1:27 and Kelly made one of two to increase the lead to 54-50 with 26.7 seconds left.

"We all knew we had to step up and everyone had to have a little better of a game than usual," Werbitsky said.

Cantwell scored 15 points to lead North Shore (19-3). Robertson, who scored eight of her 12 in the fourth, converted a layup off a feed from Gabrielle Zaffiro to give the Vikings a 31-22 lead with 1:28 left in the half.

"This season was one of the best experiences I've ever had," Robertson said. "We all played our hearts out tonight and I'm so proud of everyone."

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Harborfields, which held North Shore to one field goal and five points in the third, advanced to the state semifinals on Friday at 3:15 p.m. at Hudson Valley CC in Troy.

"It's not about one player on this team," de Borja said. "It's about everyone contributing to the win and coming up big."

None came up bigger than the smallest girl on the court.

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