North Babylon's Bria Hartley is headed for UConn as Newsday's...

North Babylon's Bria Hartley is headed for UConn as Newsday's All-Long Island Player of the Year. (Mar. 1, 2010) Credit: John Dunn

More than a month later, Bria Hartley still is asked about her phenomenal performance in the Suffolk Class AA championship game - 51 points, a Long Island high school girls basketball playoff record. You would think the 5-10 North Babylon point guard would revel in discussing it, but she is more inclined to move on to another topic because North Babylon lost that game to Sachem East, 72-69.

"I don't want to look back at that game,'' the University of Connecticut-bound Hartley said. "I was disappointed. I enjoyed playing in it. It was a great game, but we didn't win. To me, the point is to win as a team.''

Hartley, who scored 43 points in the semifinal against Smithtown West, did a lot of winning in her career, carrying a team that had six players who were freshmen or younger to the county final. The senior is Newsday's Long Island Player of the Year and the Charles H. Clark Award winner as Suffolk's top girls basketball player.

Hartley averaged 28.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 5.7 steals and played one half or less in all league games. She scored 1,978 career points. The Bulldogs were 102-14 in the five years Hartley played. She won two Long Island championships and played in two state finals.

Hartley tried to get her teammates involved early in the county championship game. She scored "only'' seven points in the first quarter and the Bulldogs trailed by 14 before she began to take over. North Babylon trailed by 10 going into the fourth quarter, but Hartley's three-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 68-67 lead with 1:10 left.

"We had a game plan to execute and it didn't exactly work out,'' Hartley said. "I knew I had to make an adjustment and step up.''

Said North Babylon coach Mike Petre: "She was an unstoppable force. That's what a great player does. The game was starting to spiral out of control and she put the team on her back. I have coached 21 years and that was the greatest show on Earth. Even I got caught up watching her.''

Each season, Hartley has improved in different areas. As a senior, she became a leader and more vocal on the floor, which was critical with a young team.

"I definitely played with more confidence,'' Hartley said. "I had never been in a position before where everyone looked at me as a leader. I wasn't the quiet ninth-grader everyone knew me as.''

Hartley scored 17 points in the McDonald's All-American game and had 19 points in the WBCA All-American game. Hartley was named Miss New York Basketball, won the Gatorade New York Girls Basketball Player of the Year Award for the second straight season and was selected to Parade magazine's All-American first team. She also was a finalist for the Naismith Award and the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year award.

Hartley not only is an outstanding athlete but a versatile one. She also plays soccer and lacrosse and had offers from Division I colleges to play those sports.

"Her competitive nature belies her personality,'' Petre said. "We do a lot of competitive drills in practice and she wanted to win every drill. A lot of players might not give their best effort if they know they're better than the other kids. She gave her best effort all the time and made everyone else better.

"Point guards are supposed to be vocal on the floor. Her nature isn't to be super-vocal, but she came into her own. You ask her to do something and she goes out and does it.''

Said Hartley: "This year was a good way to end my senior year. It would have been better with a state championship.''

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