Amanda Leary, Carle Place turn up 'D' to win LI Class C title
On March 9, 2020, Carle Place defeated Port Jefferson in the Class B Long Island Championship. The Frogs advanced to the state regional final, but the game was never played because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday night, exactly two years later, the Frogs claimed the Class C Long Island Championship with a 55-44 win over Port Jefferson at Shoreham-Wading River High School.
"The message to the girls all season was we want to be back where we were two years ago," said head coach Conor Reardon.
The Frogs got off to a slow start and had no answer early for Lola Idir, who had 11 first-half points for the Royals. Carle Place found itself down 26-17 late in the second quarter before picking up the defensive intensity.
"We knew all season that our defense can turn into offense," Reardon said. "We came out and picked up the intensity in the second half and we held their offense up."
Idir scored just 6 points in the second half and finished with 17.
Amanda Leary took over for Carle Place and led the Frogs on a 13-2 run to take the lead. Carle Place led 35-30 after the third quarter and continued its stifling defense in the fourth.
"Once we started pressing and getting up in their face it contributed to our offense and allowed us to really score," said Leary, who led the Frogs with 26 points.
Leary took a fall and banged her head on the floor in the second quarter, but when she got on her feet she told Reardon that she was staying in the game.
"It’s a big game and I’m a big part of this team, so even though it hurt I knew I couldn’t stop and had to get back in the game as quickly as I could," Leary said.
Caitlin Leary, Amanda’s younger sister, scored 10 points as an eighth grader in the 2020 matchup. She had seven points this time around.
"Two years ago when the regional got canceled, we were really upset and we just wanted to redeem ourselves and get back there this year," Caitlin said.
Carle Place advances to the state regional final against Millbrook at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Hofstra University with a chance to make up for that 2020 season.
"We’re glad to be back, but the motto we have right now is we’re not done," Reardon said. "We’re not done."