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Alexis Fotopoulos scores 22 for Hampton Bays in regional loss

Alexis Fotopoulos of Hampton Bays is guarded by

Alexis Fotopoulos of Hampton Bays is guarded by two Woodlands players during the Southeast Regional Class B final on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at New Rochelle. Credit: Errol Anderson

NEW ROCHELLE -- Hannah Reed managed to console herself. The junior's face still was flushed and the tears continued to fall -- understandably so -- but her mood seemed to improve with each sentence she spoke.

"At the start of the season, when coach said we can make it to states, we thought, 'No we can't. Maybe we can win our league,' " the Hampton Bays guard said Saturday. "Then we won counties and nobody thought we could get beyond that, and we won Long Island. We did really push it."

Hampton Bays pushed it -- its own expectations, the perception of its team, and itself -- all the way to the state Class B Southeast Regional final. The Baymen pushed as far as they have since 2008, and pushed hard in this game, but it wasn't enough.

Imani Tilford scored 25 points and Teisha Hyman had 17 as Woodlands beat Hampton Bays, 57-42, at New Rochelle High School.

"This is only the second time we've ever gotten this far," Baymen coach Pat McGunnigle said. "It was a great season. It's over now, but that doesn't erase what we did before this game."

Or even what they did in this game. Alexis Fotopoulos scored 22 points and Reed, who dislocated her right shoulder last week, added nine as Hampton Bays demonstrated the pluck that fuel-ed its run all season.

"You play hard no matter what," said Reed, who suffered the injury in a practice before the L.I. championship game and had the shoulder heavily taped. "If you're sick or in pain, or the game isn't going your way, you still give it your all."

Hampton Bays did, and the effort was there, Fotopoulos said, "but we just couldn't get our shots to fall."

The Baymen did, early on. Reed's three-pointer gave them a 13-4 lead four minutes in, but Woodlands answered with a 13-0 surge. Hampton Bays retook the lead briefly, at 21-19 in the second quarter, but Woodlands followed with an 8-0 run and Hyman's steal and layup put them ahead for good.

Tilford scored seven points, including the 2,000th of her career, in the second quarter for Woodlands (14-10). The point guard added eight more in the third, including a mid-range jumper that pushed the Falcons' lead to 53-33 with two seconds left in the quarter.

Woodlands will face defending champ Bishop Kearney in a state semifinal on Friday at Hudson Valley CC.

Mary Kelly Hilton and Taylor Dunn each scored three points and Haley Wood had eight rebounds for Hampton Bays (20-4).

"There's no way around it -- it hurts," senior Trish Liotta said. "But we took some big steps forward this year."

The banners that will soon adorn their gymnasium are testament to that. And a silver lining: This team returns all but two players -- now more seasoned, hungrier, and aware of what can be accomplished.

"Next season starts right now," said Fotopoulos, a sophomore. "The disappointment we feel right now, that's motivation."

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