After such a statement game, someone had to actually make one. And quite honestly, any of the following will apply to Harborfields' Suffolk girls basketball championship victory:
A) "This shows that when we play together," Kristen Kelly said, "nobody can stop us."
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B) "Now we know if we put our mind to it," Allie Tunick said, "we can do anything."
C) "If we can beat a team like this," Christiana deBorja said, "we can beat anybody."
The Tornadoes, perceived as the underdog, cruised to a 70-52 victory over Sachem East in the Suffolk overall title game at Whitman High School Friday.
"This is my ninth year coaching," Harborfields coach Russ Tietjen said, "and I don't think we've ever played a game from beginning to end that well."
The Tornadoes (21-0) led for all but about a minute and a half, with the lead swelling to 22 points midway through the fourth quarter. The lead was built with swarming defense that contained a series of switches to limit two Division I-bound players; domination on the boards, led by Donasja Scott's 15 rebounds, and an offensive cohesiveness that generated crisp ball movement and a balanced scoring attack.
When Kelly made a cross-court pass to Toni Deren and she drained a corner three-pointer, Harborfields had a 48-37 lead with 3:32 left in the third. On the next possession, Deren cut across the lane for a layup to increase the lead to 13.
Tunick later drew contact with a head fake and hit a leaner off the glass plus the foul to help take a 56-42 lead into the fourth. Deren's step-back three and deBorja's conventional three-point play early in the fourth added to the lead and sealed the first overall championship for the girls basketball program.
"We just wanted to go hard the whole time," Tunick said. "We didn't even look at the scoreboard the whole game."
If they did, they would have seen a surprisingly lopsided score. That was thanks in part to Scott, who led the way with 16 points, and Kelly, who had 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. DeBorja, a freshman point guard, scored seven of her 14 points in the opening 90 seconds of the game. Helena Ottaviano added nine points, including a baseball-style heave from just inside midcourt that dropped at the buzzer in the first.
Katie Doherty had 21 points and Kat Everson 10 points for Sachem East (16-7), which will play the Baldwin-Massapequa winner in the Long Island Class AA championship game Friday at Farmingdale State College.
"This loss kind of stops our momentum," Doherty said. "I'm hoping this makes us hungrier and gives us more drive to work hard this week."
Harborfields' unbeaten season continues Friday at Farmingdale against either North Shore or Cold Spring Harbor in the Long Island Class A championship game.
"We want to go back up to states and this is just another step in helping us get better," Kelly said before adding a final statement: "We're not done yet."