Harborfields girls fall to Maine-Endwell in state semifinals
TROY, N.Y. -- Harborfields generated a whirlwind of energy to fuel a second-half comeback, but ultimately it wasn't enough to save its season, as the Tornadoes fell Friday in the state Class A girls basketball semifinals.
After erasing a double-digit lead midway through the third quarter, Harborfields fell back in the fourth quarter and ended their season with a 53-46 loss to Maine-Endwell.
Harborfields finished at 20-3. Maine-Endwell (17-4) plays Troy (18-5) Saturday night for the title.
"It was so hard to get here, so now that we're here it really hurts to lose," senior guard Amy Luxemberg said. "We wanted a state championship, but we left it all there."
The Tornadoes stormed back after trailing 32-17 with 4:41 left in the third quarter to eventually tie the score at 34 but trailed 37-34 heading into the fourth.
Down 34-21, sophomore forward Donasja Scott sparked the Harborfields comeback with her aggressiveness on the glass as she had two straight putbacks to make it 34-25 with 2:24 left.
Amy Werbitsky chipped in with a putback plus a bonus free-throw to make it 34-28, and later the senior forward had another putback to bring Harborfields within two.
Junior guard Toni Deren's free throws tied the score at 34 with 52.2 seconds left, but freshman guard Daniella Dean (12 points) stopped the Harborfields' run at the end of the period with a three-pointer that gave the Spartans the lead again.
Maine-Endwell went on an 11-2 run to open the fourth after a sloppy start by Harborfields, doing in the Tornadoes when senior guard Becca Dewing (12 points) hit her fourth three-pointer to go up 46-36 with 3:49 to play.
"To start the fourth quarter, I really thought we had the momentum but we turned the ball over right away and that didn't help," Harborfields coach Russ Tietjen said.
Added Werbitsky: "We all thought we were going to pull away but it didn't go our way."
Both teams had state-semifinal jitters in the first half, but the Spartans shook theirs by the start of the second quarter.
Maine-Endwell held Harborfields scoreless until the 1:45 mark of the period, going on a 14-0 run behind two three-pointers from Dewing to lead 18-9 with 2:05 left in the half. Four points from Werbitsky near the end of the quarter brought Harborfields within 22-14 at the break.
The Tornadoes had led 9-4 after the first quarter, going on a 7-0 run late in the period.
"Just give them credit," Tietjen said of being outscored 18-5 in the second quarter. "They got in our face and they were better than us on the defensive end."
Werbitsky led all scorers with 13 points and had nine of her 10 rebounds on the offensive end. But Maine-Endwell had four scorers in double figures and limited Bridgit Ryan, who averages around 15.5 points, to 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field
Harborfields made its second appearance in the state semifinals (2007), after beating Garden City in the Long Island championship, 55-27, on March 9. The Tornadoes won their fourth Suffolk title in seven seasons when they topped Glenn, 49-36, on Feb. 22.
Harborfields graduates five seniors: Ryan, Werbitsky, Luxemberg, Eileen Quinn and Katie White.
"[Ryan] in my opinion is the best player in Suffolk County. She does everything; scoring, rebounding, blocking shots, and you can't replace that," Tietjen said. "Amy Werbitsky gave great effort today and Amy Luxenberg played the best game of her life . . . I'm so proud of the whole group."