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Doherty returns with big game to lead Sachem East

Sachem #21 Kristen Doherty leaps up to score

Sachem #21 Kristen Doherty leaps up to score during the game against St Johns held at St Johns High School. (December 19, 2009) Photo Credit: Freelance/Frank Koester

One week ago Kristen Doherty was on crutches after suffering a partially torn left hamstring. There was no timetable for her return, but the Sachem East senior point guard did everything she could to make it back quickly.

The Boston College-bound Doherty went to a few doctors, physical therapy and a chiropractor for acupuncture. It certainly worked.

Doherty looked healthy and had 33 points, 13 rebounds, five steals and three assists to lead Sachem East to a 62-58 win over St. John the Baptist Saturday in the Under Armour Classic at St. John the Baptist.

"I was really surprised," Doherty said of her quick return. "Everyone was telling me I would be out for four-to-six weeks. I was stressed out."

Doherty injured her hamstring in a scrimmage against St. John the Baptist less than two weeks ago. She returned on Thursday and played just one quarter. Caitlin Hopkins wasn't surprised to see Doherty back.

"That's Kristen for you," said Hopkins, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds. "She'll push through anything. She's so tough. She hates being on the bench. She goes crazy."

It made Sachem East coach Matt Brisson crazy, too. He was shocked to see her able to play and he consulted doctors, her parents and the trainer to make sure it was the right decision.

"It's a testimony to that kid," Brisson said. "She really shouldn't be playing right now. Just like she learns fast, apparently she heals fast too. The biggest problem I have is sitting her still during a timeout when she wants to go out there."

Sachem East (3-2) closed the game with a 9-2 run. Doherty was double-teamed at the foul line and fed a wide-open Hopkins for a layup with 55 seconds left to give Sachem East a 59-58 lead.

"All the pressure was on Kristen and she's a terrific passer," Hopkins said. "She was able to look up and I just took it in."

Said Doherty: "I trust all my teammates. I don't need to take the winning shot every time. If they double team, they could make the winning shot too. I'm so happy for Caitlin."

The game was close throughout with SJB leading by as many as seven early in the third quarter. Kamala Thompson (17 points) hit a three-pointer with 2:36 left to give SJB a 56-53 lead. Hopkins scored to cut it to 56-55 before Kristen McMahon pushed the lead to 58-55. Doherty, who scored 11 in the fourth, hit two free throws with 1:23 left to make it 58-57. After she assisted Hopkins for the go-ahead basket, she hit two free throws with 34 seconds left for a 61-58 lead.

SJB (0-4), led by Brianna Thomas' 19 points, played for the second consecutive game without two starters. Alexis Smith was out with a fractured right ankle and Anastasia Williams has a concussion. Sachem East is still without sophomore Meagan Doherty, who has a partially torn left MCL.

"Coach really wasn't going to play me," Doherty said. "I kept bugging him and bugging him."

Sachem East is glad she did.

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