GLENS FALLS, N.Y. - Sachem East's Kristen Doherty knew for about a week that she would play in her final high school basketball game yesterday, win or lose. Then, when city Catholic power Christ the King won Saturday to advance to the state Federation Class AA championship game, Doherty had a final opponent.
The end was close. "It's bittersweet," she said Saturday afternoon. But despite Sachem East's 56-47 loss to state CHSAA champion Christ the King Sunday at the Glens Falls Civic Center, Doherty said the finish was more sweet than bitter.
"I'm proud of these girls. I'm happy," the Boston College-bound senior said. "I'm not going to keep my head down."
Doherty scored 24 of her 29 points in the first three quarters as state public school Class AA champion Sachem East stayed within striking distance of Christ the King. In fact, the Flaming Arrows (22-4) led 42-40 at the start of the fourth quarter but managed only five more points, all by Doherty.
Christ the King forward Ariel Edwards (23 points, 15 rebounds) had nine points during a 13-2 run to start the fourth. After Edwards gave Christ the King (26-5) a 51-44 lead with 2:29 left on a three-point play, guard Bria Smith (19 points) hit two free throws to help put the finishing touches on the Royals' 15th Federation championship since 1990.
"It was a fatigue factor," Sachem East coach Matt Brisson said. "Christ the King is very deep and talented. They outlasted us is what it came down to . . . Had we played this game another night, who knows? It was one of those championship bouts that if we played 10 rounds, it would go five and five."
Doherty kept her team in it through the first eight rounds. She hit two three-pointers in the final minute of the second quarter to tie it at 27 at halftime and scored nine of Sachem East's 15 points in the third quarter.
Smith, who battled head-to-head with Doherty, picked up her fourth foul just over a minute into the fourth, but Smith defended Doherty smartly. And the Sachem East star - who moved into seventh place on the all-time Long Island girls basketball scoring list, finishing with 2,277 - got little offensive help.
"If you're not a Kristen Doherty fan by now, I don't know what to tell you," Brisson said.
"There are little girls in the stands asking for autographs. There are little girls throughout the Sachem district who want to be Kristen Doherty. I told her the other day, you never have to play another game in your life and you won't have any idea how much you've done for girls basketball, especially in the district."
Maybe that's why despite the loss, Doherty was happy afterward.
"We did everything we could to get to where we were," she said. "I'm so happy, so proud."