The girls on the Carle Place basketball team don’t like to wait. They got into this winning business early and don’t intend on retiring from it any time soon. The team, which starts four sophomores, already has built its championship tradition. Now, it’s all about continuing it.
So far, it’s doing a pretty nice job of it. The Frogs topped Oyster Bay, 60-43, in the Nassau Class B final at SUNY-Old Westbury on Thursday. It was Carle Place’s third consecutive Nassau Class B championship and gives it the right to face East Rockaway in the Nassau Small School championship March 2 at Hofstra and Mattituck in the Long Island Class B championship March 6 at SUNY-Old Westbury.
“You just can’t get over that winning feeling,” said Leah Burden, who scored 17 points. “It’s the best feeling ever and you just never want to let go of it. Hopefully, we don’t have to.”
Abigail Selhorn, part of Carle Place’s sophomore brigade, led the Frogs with 19 points and Giana McKeough added 15.
Carle Place (14-7) settled into the championship game as if it had been preparing for it all season — setting the tone and the pace almost immediately. The Frogs jumped out to 8-0 and 13-2 leads, never really looking back. Selhorn scored nine points in the first quarter and Carle Place led by seven at the conclusion of the opening period.
“The first five minutes of the game you have to be the ones that take control,” Burden said. “You have to say ‘Hey, I’m here and I’m going to win. This is my court and this is my ‘W.’ ”
And the Frogs made sure every inch of it belonged to them.
“We wanted to push the ball into the paint,” Selhorn said. “We didn’t want to have long rebounds, so we figured out what we could do to make our lead bigger in the first half, so we don’t have to worry about it in the second half.”
Oyster Bay (6-15), led by Gianna Gotti (21 points), attempted to close the gap in the second quarter, shrinking the Carle Place lead to 22-17 with less than five minutes remaining. But the Frogs responded, finishing the first half on a 12-4 run.
Eighth-grader Erin Leary blocked a shot in the final seconds of the first half, leading to a Victoria Dieguez (also an eighth- grader) halfcourt heave at time expired. The shot just missed, hitting the front of the rim, but it indicated just how well things were going for the defending champs.
They just hope that continues through March.