Katie Doherty overcomes strange defense to lead Sachem East to Class AA final

Sachem East guard Katie Doherty drives to the Sachem East guard Katie Doherty drives to the basket for a layup late in the fourth quarter against Huntington in a Class AA semifinal playoff basketball game on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

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Katie Doherty can still hear the screaming.

Zone defenses have failed. Man-to-man has failed. Double teams have failed.

The latest defensive scheme in an attempt to contain the Sachem East star was to have a defender scream in her face all game . . . and it worked.

Well, it worked until 2:54 remaining in the game.

Held to just six points until then, Doherty reeled off 13 points to lift No. 3 Sachem East to a 58-55 girls basketball win over unbeaten Huntington in a Suffolk Class AA semifinal at Smithtown East High School Friday.

"It was definitely frustrating," Doherty said of the screams. "It got to me a little bit. I had to dig down and trust my teammates and myself to make good decisions and come out with the win."

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After sinking two free throws to tie the score, Doherty drove down the lane, drew a blocking foul and converted the layup for a three-point play that gave the Flaming Arrows a 53-50 lead with 54.3 seconds to go.

Mackenzie Maloney had 16 points for No. 2 Huntington (20-1), including two free throws to trim the lead to one with 35.7 seconds left. Doherty hit a free throw before teammate Kathleen Everson stole an entry pass on the defensive end.

Doherty hit another foul shot to put Sachem up 55-52 with 9.7 seconds remaining. She missed the second but Taylor Whiffen grabbed the offensive rebound and went on to hit two free throws, sealing the win.

Doherty scored 13 of Sachem's 17 fourth-quarter points and finished with 19 points, six rebounds, and likely a pounding headache.

"They try to get a physical edge, they try to get a psychological edge," Sachem East coach Matt Brisson said. "I don't think Katie gets rattled easily."

Everson had 21 points and 10 rebounds, including eight points in the second quarter to help Sachem take a 26-25 lead at the half. "We all needed to step up," she said, "and that's exactly what we did."

Heather Forster had 16 points, including a layup off a feed from Katie Reilly that gave Huntington a 50-47 lead with 2:20 remaining.

Jordan Pamlanye added 12 points for Sachem East (15-6), which plays North Babylon for the county championship Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Farmingdale State College.

First it was those defensive screams, then the celebratory screams. Doherty was asked if her ears were ringing. "A little bit," she said with a laugh.

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