Christina Testa, Gianna Gotti lead Oyster Bay to Nassau Class B title
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A snapshot of Oyster Bay's season: Senior captain Hannah Kaiser, arms raised after the final buzzer Friday, rushing to hug eighth-grader Gianna Gotti.
Symbolism in the veteran leadership melding seamlessly with a slew of upstart underclassmen in delivering the girls basketball program's best season in five years.
And an actual photo: Wide smiles and restrained giggles of a giddy bunch posing at LIU Post, championship plaques raised after a 65-49 victory over rival Carle Place.
Picture-perfect. But more on that later.
Christina Testa scored 20 points and Gotti dominated both ends with 15 points, 15 rebounds, four steals and four assists as top-seeded Oyster Bay captured the Nassau Class B title -- its first championship since 2009.
"This means everything," said Gotti, a sparkplug in her first varsity season. "For the next four years, I'm going to be able to look up in our gym and see a championship banner."
Seemingly every time anyone looked up Friday during the first quarter, Testa was sinking a three-pointer. The sophomore scored 13 points and hit four of her five threes in the opening period, staking Oyster Bay to a 22-14 lead.
Flash back to a year ago, when Testa concedes her shot selection was poor and her jumper inconsistent. "But now I'm patient," she said. "I pick my spots and take smart shots." With picturesque form.
It helps, coach Sandy Rossen said, that Testa dedicated her summer to improving and, in the days leading up to this game, "stayed after practice and took 1,000 shots."
About that many shots were taken after the game . . . with cameras, that is. And, finally, the players will be able to share them with assistant coach Mary Lepore, who promised to allow the team to follow her on Instagram as a reward. It had been a dangling social media carrot all season, Testa said, laughing, "so now we can stop bugging her about it."
Friday's performance was a slideshow of sorts, capturing the team's depth. Sophomore Faith Smith added 10 points for Oyster Bay (14-4) and senior forwards Jacqueline Romeo, Nikia Gordon and Kaiser contained Carle Place's potent post scorers.
Meredith McLaughlin had 12 points and Maria Hyland six for the second-seeded Frogs (14-5). Oyster Bay faces Friends Academy in the B/C game on March 2.
"It's incredible," Kaiser said of her fifth varsity season. "Remembering how we were, and knowing how hard it was, I wondered if we'd ever win a championship. Now look at us, holding up plaques."