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Division keeps everything under control in tourney win

Division's Laura Stuart drives past Cold Spring Harbor's

Division's Laura Stuart drives past Cold Spring Harbor's Kelly Gubitosi. (Dec. 12, 2011) (Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

Taylor Calabrese can sense when Taylor Miller is going for a steal.

“I know how she plays,” said Calabrese, who is teammates with Miller on the Long Island Lightning in Amateur Athletic Association (AAU) girls’ basketball. “She’s hard to compete against.”

That was the sentiment shared by Calabrese and her Division teammates during the semifinals of the Lady Devils Basketball Invitational Friday at Freeport High School.

So how did Calabrese, the Lady Blue Dragons point guard, plan on fending off the Lady Devils point guard, Miller, who likes to press at midcourt?

“You have to do a quick crossover to get by that, so that she can’t steal it,” Calabrese said. “If you have it in the same hand, she’s going to get it every time. If you switch hands, she can’t get it.”

Because Calabrese was able to maintain possession, Division had an easier time putting the ball in the basket during its 55-45 win. Calabrese totaled eight points and seven assists.

“The key was breaking their pressure,” Division coach Steve Kissane said. “We just stayed calm. If you notice, the scoring for us was all balanced. We got some easy looks off breaking the press.”

Laura Stuart and Jessica Fressle did the bulk of the scoring for Division (5-0), which will play Huntington in the final tomorrow at 3 p.m. Huntington defeated St. Joseph Hill, of Staten Island, 67-37, in the other semifinal.

Stuart had a team-high 16 points and Fressle finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Miller’s game-high 17 points led Freeport (4-2).

“I was trying to get a good offense going, with cuts and screens,” Calabrese said. “Mainly trying to relax everyone because everyone freaks out when we see the press.”

Today was obviously a different story for the Lady Blue Dragons, which scored 23 of its 27 second half points in the fourth quarter en route to its first finals tourney appearance.
“We’ve been in it the last four years,” Kissane said. “I like our poise. They’re playing more mature. When teams are pressuring us, we’re handling the pressure very well.”
Who better than Calabrese?

“Taylor did a good job of handling the ball against Taylor Miller,” Kissane said. “[Miller] didn’t pick her pocket more than once and that’s critical because I think Freeport feeds off Taylor Miller.”

The remaining schedule for tomorrow’s third round games features Calhoun vs. Valley Stream Central at 11 a.m., Our Lady of Mercy vs. Sacred Heart at 1 p.m. and Freeport vs. St. Joseph Hill (Staten Island) at 1 p.m.