The first time Cold Spring Harbor girls basketball faced Carle Place this season the Seahawks won comfortably -- an 11-point margin that was never really threatened.
The second time Cold Spring Harbor beat Carle Place, the Seahawks won in decidedly uncomfortable fashion -- a 13-point margin that belied how difficult it was up until the final quarter.
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After trailing by as many as eight points in the second quarter, the No. 1 Seahawks reaffirmed their Class B dominance, defeating second-seeded Carle Place, 40-27, Saturday at LIU-Post.
Cold Spring Harbor outscored the Frogs 12-3 in the third quarter and 13-3 in the fourth. The Seahawks advance to the Long Island championship against defending champion Southampton March 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Hofstra.
Kelly Vassallo's jumper with 2:15 left in the third quarter gave the Seahawks (16-3) a 26-24 lead -- one they held for good in a game otherwise marked by bursts and spurts. After trailing 21-15 going into the third, Cold Spring Harbor erupted with a 10-2 run midway through the quarter, paced by two big threes by Holly Logan and Vassallo. In the fourth, Alexandra Buonfiglio's steal and coast-to-coast layup gave the Seahawks a five-point lead. She followed it up about two minutes later with a left-wing trey to make it 35-26. Carle Place was held to only one field goal in the second half -- Meredith McLaughlin's putback with 6:56 left to play.
This is Cold Spring Harbor's third straight Nassau Class B title. Carle Place finished the season 15-4.
"It means everything to win this today, and we definitely want to win against Southampton," said Vassallo, the game MVP with 13 points. "We knew we had a solid defense and we had to box out more and not give them second shots."
Cold Spring Harbor got off to a roaring start, scoring the first nine points -- including Vassallo's driving layup -- and dominating possession with four minutes of suffocating, up-tempo play.
The Frogs, though, responded in kind. Samantha Burden's putback with 4:09 left in the first quarter ended the drought for Carle Place, which scored nine straight, capped by Burden's game-tying layup with about two minutes left in the period.
Trailing by three going into the second quarter, Burden hit two free throws, shortly followed by Sarah Pisani's three, to give the Frogs the lead. After Brianna Noak's free throw, it was all Carle Place -- with the Frogs scoring the final seven points of the second quarter, and taking a six-point lead going into the break. Burden had nine points, while Cold Spring Harbor's Durand had 10.