The road to a championship is a long one. And when Center Moriches says that, it means it. The Class B girls basketball champions from Suffolk's East End made yesterday's 90- minute round trip to Farmingdale State worth it, defeating Class A champion Harborfields, 52-36, for the Suffolk small-school championship. The win ensures Center Moriches a return trip to Farmingdale for the overall county championship against Sachem East at 1 p.m. tomorrow.
"I love it out there," said sophomore center Kelsey Glanzman, who finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. "But a lot of people don't know who we are."
That should change soon. Center Moriches has plenty of players worth knowing. Amber Davis scored 15 points and Jessica Bandrowski had 14. And Glanzman tossed her name into the need-to-know category.
Center Moriches led 33-18 at halftime, thanks in part to three three-pointers from Bandrowski. But Glanzman, who scored six of her points in the half and controlled the glass, may have been the key. Davis had only four points at the break, but Glanzman stepped up.
"Amber was a little flat coming out," Center Moriches coach Rich Alifano said. "Kelsey was our first-half MVP."
Davis turned it on in the second half, scoring 11 points.
"I told her to keep her shoulders back," Alifano said. "You have to have a short memory . . . If you let a team like Harborfields come back, they will."
Bridgit Ryan scored 13 points for Harborfields, which never trimmed its deficit below double digits in the second half.
Harborfields will face Division for the Long Island Class A championship at 5 p.m. next Friday at Farmingdale State. Tomorrow's overall final will provide a tune-up for Center Moriches before the Long Island Class B final against Locust Valley at 5 p.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph's (L.I.).
"It's a good practice for us," Davis said. "It gets us ready for the most important game."
Center Moriches is seeking its first L.I. championship. A win in that game and it's another long trip - all the way upstate.