With Lindsay O'Sullivan injured, Friends Academy's successful season ends
There weren't any tears from Friends Academy Saturday. No excuses, either -- though, surely, the players would have been entitled to both immediately after the game.
Kristina Kim and Krystina Iordanou, two of the Quakers' best players, are also soccer stars and have missed recent games while competing out of the country in soccer tournaments.
Lindsay O'Sullivan, Friends' top scorer who carried them in the Long Island final on Thursday, was taken to the hospital with an injury at halftime of Saturday's game.
"Not having them made it more difficult, but we never make excuses and we won't now," coach Ryan Schneider said. "We had other capable players out there, and they worked hard."
But undermanned and overmatched, Friends Academy lost, 59-25, to Alexander Hamilton in the Class C girls basketball Southeast Regional final at Adelphi. The lopsided result ended what was this burgeoning program's most successful season.
"There's definitely a sting, especially for the girls graduating," said Marissa Tidona, one of the Quakers five seniors, "but this is the farthest we've gone and I know we gave our all."
The effort was evident in players diving for loose balls, even with the game out of hand. But Tiffany Corselli scored 32 points, including five three-pointers, and Jasmine Robinson added 21 for Hamilton (17-4), which took control with a 12-0 run in the first quarter.
"We heard Friends was tough, so we came in knowing we had to bring intensity," Hamilton coach Ben Carter said. "This is the farthest our team has ever gone, so we really wanted it."
The Red Raiders will face Harpursville in the state semifinal on Saturday in Troy.
O'Sullivan (nine points) took an inadvertent elbow to the face, which opened a cut above her right eye, with 2:27 remaining in the second quarter and her team down 26-11. Bleeding profusely, she was tended to by a trainer and eventually taken to a hospital for treatment. She didn't return.
Rose Mangiarotti scored nine points and Jessica Babicz five for the Quakers (11-10).
"It was a tough situation because we had to change our offense without Lindsay," Mangiarotti said of the freshman forward, who led Friends to its first Long Island title by scoring 22 points in a 29-25 win over Stony Brook. "That made it harder," Mangiarotti said, "but take nothing from Hamilton. They're good."
Hamilton pulled away in the third quarter and Corselli's three made it 42-15 with 3:52 left in the period. The Quakers used a 1-3-1 zone for some stretches to combat Hamilton's size inside, but its outside shooters took advantage.
Still, Tidona said, the lasting memory of this season will be the legacy the Quakers helped build -- a reminder of which will be the Long Island championship banner soon to be raised in their gymnasium.
"The last couple of years we've made strides in athletics here," she said. "This team gave me a great season and it was an awesome run. The more I think about it, how can I not be happy about that?"