Jessica Winston said she had a realization early in the fourth quarter that "this could be our last high school basketball game."
The Stony Brook senior point guard prolonged her high school career for at least one more game as she scored seven of her 11 points in the fourth quarter to lead Stony Brook over Friends Academy, 35-26, last night in the Long Island Class C girls basketball championship/Southeast Regional semifinal at SUNY-Old Westbury.
"She's a great shooter, our most consistent three-point shooter," Stony Brook coach Amy Helm said of Winston. "She's constantly looking to get other players involved -- that's her personality. We're trying to get her to go for the jugular a little more."
Brannon Burke, Stony Brook's leading scorer, added 11 points and played the entire fourth quarter with four fouls, and Keara Vancol had five points and 14 rebounds. Burke credited Winston for leading Stony Brook (15-6) to its third Long Island championship in five years.
"I didn't have a great game but Jess played awesome," Burke said. "[She] hit some key shots at the end to really clinch the win for us."
Stony Brook started the game with an 11-2 run, capped off when Burke hit a three-pointer from the right corner as the shot clock hit zero with 3:00 left in the first quarter. The Bears controlled the pace of the game for the entire first half, executing their half-court offense to near perfection as they passed the ball around the perimeter and used every second of the shot clock to take a 20-11 lead at halftime.
The Quakers flipped the script in the third quarter, pushing the pace of the game and keeping the Bears' offense in check. Margot Mangiarotti's free throw with 4.4 seconds left capped a 12-2 third quarter for Friends, which took its first lead in over 21 minutes at 23-22.
"Our game plan was to try to keep pushing the ball, keep pressuring them and hopefully at some point they'd come back to us a little bit and that's what happened," Friends Academy coach David Gatoux said.
The comeback bid did not last long for the Quakers as the Bears regained control of the game thanks to Winston and Burke, who were both members of Stony Brook's 2009 Long Island championship team.
"When they came back it was like, 'OK we need to play well now,' " Winston said.
Kristina Kim had seven points and Reoni Mapp had six points for Friends Academy (9-10).
Stony Brook will play the winner of today's game between Tri-Valley and Haldane at 5 p.m. Friday at SUNY New Paltz.