For the first time a team from America's first suburb will head to the state basketball final four. Division will play Lakeland in the state Class A semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Hudson Valley CC. No other Levittown basketball team, boys or girls, has made it this far. The championship game will be played at 7:15 p.m. tomorrow.
Lakeland has been here before; the Hornets won the state title in 2007. Seniors Tori Jarosz and guard Kristin Pappalardo were freshmen on that team.
Division has not faced an opponent like Jarosz, a 6-3 center who will play at Vanderbilt next season. Lakeland runs its offense through Jarosz and she typically draws a double- or triple-team.
But the Blue Dragons have five players who are 5-10 or taller, and as captain Molly Bauer noted, "We have two amazing forwards who can pound it in the middle."
That's 5-10 Nicolette Parmese and 6-1 Kristen Costello, who will have their hands full with Jarosz. In addition, 6-1 shot-blocking machine Kristen Stuart comes off the bench and provides instant energy.
If the middle is plugged up, expect a big day from Division guards Julie Ballantyne, Taylor Malings, Christina Rea and Bauer. Malings (14 points) and Ballantyne (13 points) were Division's leading scorers in the Long Island Class A championship game.