Playing against the defending state Class B runner up, the Carle Place girls basketball team found itself in an early hole and couldn’t recover.
But that doesn’t mean the Frogs didn’t find value in playing Irvington. Coach Michael Bello played each healthy member of the roster after his starters, including Alexa Frein, the team’s lone senior, got extended run.
Frein had four points and a steal in her last game for Carle Place (17-7), and Abby Selhorn led the Frogs with 12 points in a 60-37 loss in the state Class B regional final Saturday at Pace in Pleasantville.
“You have girls who’ve come and worked so hard to make us a better team throughout the playoffs, and the only way you can thank a player is by giving her playing time,” Bello said. “Unfortunately, you want to be on the other end. But getting Jennifer [Tumino], who was cheering the whole time, in the game, and getting the eighth graders and everyone else in, it shows them we understand how hard they’ve worked.”
Erin Leary (eight points), Caroline McLaughlin (six) and Giana McKeough (two) discovered early why Irvington (24-1) is a consistent power. Irvington had seven steals and assisted eight of 10 baskets in the first quarter, racing to a 23-7 lead.
That pressure and ball movement continued, as Irvington took a 36-11 lead into halftime. Carle Place’s offense improved in the third quarter, which ended when Leary made a leaning three-pointer off the glass at the buzzer from 30 feet.
Frein was taken out of the game midway through the fourth quarter, in part so the younger players could play. She was hugged by each of her teammates after the game.
“She’s all heart,” Bello said. “She’s all heart and emotion . . . She wears everything on her sleeve. You have to respect an athlete who does that.”
Frein was part of a historic season for Carle Place, which defeated Mattituck in the Long Island Class B championship after falling to the Tuckers each of the last two seasons. This without star Leah Burden, who tore her ACL in January.
“Our goal in the beginning of the season was to make it to the state championships,” Bello said. “You lose an All-State player, an All-County player, a point guard, so to be able to get to this point is obviously successful. It doesn’t feel very successful right now, but you learn a lot from losing.”
He said he’s sure the Frogs will be back.