Chelsea Williams was the third option for Copiague when the Eagles won a state Class AA championship two years ago. In her senior season, she is the linchpin and led No. 8 Copiague to the semifinals after a 53-47 upset win over top-seeded Northport in the Suffolk Class AA quarterfinals Thursday. It was the first loss of the season for Northport (19-1).
Williams, averaging 20.6 points per game, had 26 points, nine rebounds, and four steals. Copiague led most of the game before Northport took the lead in the final three minutes. Williams scored on a baseline drive with the help of a screen by Raven Walker to give the Eagles a 49-47 lead with 2:22 left. Williams went 4-for-4 from the free throw line the rest of the game and hit all 12 she took.
“She knows she has to step up,” Copiague coach Carole Olsen said. “She’s trying to solidify her college choice. She has to put on her best show while not being selfish because colleges are watching.”
Kelly Ann Sullivan scored 12 points, Cypher McCloud had eight points and 10 rebounds, and Walker added 10 rebounds.
One of the keys was limiting 6-4 senior Stephanie Leon. Copiague (14-6) doesn’t have anyone taller than 5-9, but Copiague assistant coach Lisa Macchia, a 6-4 standout at Island Trees, replicated Leon in practice. Leon, who didn’t score, picked up two fouls in the first quarter.
“Northport didn’t play a bad game,” Olsen said. “We played to our strengths. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised. I don’t think the girls were either. All year I felt we could beat anybody and we could lose to anybody.”
Another key factor was free throw shooting, which was a problem for the Eagles this season. They shot 78 percent against Ward Melville in the first round and went 7-for-8 in the fourth quarter against Northport.
Copiague will play No. 4 Deer Park in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Farmingdale State.