Commack's Rush-Henrietta's during the second half of the New York...

Commack's Rush-Henrietta's during the second half of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls' Class AA Semifinal basketball game on Friday, March 20, 2015, in Troy, N.Y. Credit: Hans Pennink

Just 28.6 seconds remained and Commack called a timeout.

No plays were drawn up. No strategy was discussed. The coaching staff simply ordered the starters to go stand on the court. They did so, confused.

The coaches then gave the players a standing ovation, and the crowd soon followed.

That final timeout during the Cougars' 60-46 loss to Rush-Henrietta in a state Class AA semifinal at Hudson Valley Community College was spent applauding a team that rewrote Commack's history book.

"I didn't know what was happening at first," Jackie DelliSanti said. "Then I realized and it was nice to see.

"It cheered me up a little bit and it made us feel appreciated. Everyone who was a part of this should feel appreciated because we did this together."

That included winning Commack's first county and Long Island championships. But the Cougars' run came to an end Friday night after they struggled to contain Rush-Henrietta's frontcourt, which featured three of the four tallest girls on the court.

Leanne Corso's layup off a pretty bounce pass from Chelsea Schultz and a three-pointer by Casey Hearns gave Commack an 18-16 lead with 3:25 left in the second quarter. But Destinee Johnson hit a straightaway three-pointer and Dana Watts stripped the ball and went coast-to-coast for a layup to ignite a quarter-ending 15-2 run that gave Rush-Henrietta a 31-20 halftime lead.

The lead grew in the second half before Corso's putback cut the deficit to 43-33 with 6:58 left. Emily Nestler answered with a pretty spin move in the post for an easy layup, sparking an 8-0 run that gave Rush-Henrietta a 51-33 lead.

"Being part of this team was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had," said senior Casey Keenan, a captain along with DelliSanti and Schultz. "I am so proud of this team, from the last girl on the bench to every girl in the starting lineup."

Watts (23 points) and Nestler (21 points), both of whom are 6 feet tall, were dominant in the low post and on the boards for Rush-Henrietta (23-0).

"Their big kids were better than advertised," Commack coach Denis Conroy said. "It's hard when you have kids that size who are that mobile and can break pressure."

DelliSanti attacked the basket aggressively throughout and had 23 points, including the first eight of the game for Commack (22-3).

Schultz added 12 points and six rebounds and Hearns had six points.

"Everyone pretty much doubted us from the beginning," Schultz said. "But we won the league, we won counties, we won Long Island. So I think we showed everyone that we are one of the best teams on Long Island."

After that final timeout was called, the starters were subbed out and walked off the court with the crowd still applauding.

"It's very deserving," Conroy said of the ovation the players received. "There's a sense in Commack that this is a special team. They had an aura and an attitude about them that you couldn't help but root for them."

Which is why when the final buzzer sounded, the best girls basketball team in Commack history got another standing ovation.

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