Allie Twible scored 13 points in state semifinal for East...

Allie Twible scored 13 points in state semifinal for East Meadow, which beat top three seeds en route to program’s double-first: county, LI titles. Credit: Newsday/Hans Pennink

TROY — Charlotte Viola never could have predicted her final high school basketball game being played anywhere other than on Long Island. From the opening minute to her final possession, the East Meadow senior was determined to make the most of the experience off Long Island.

“I would have never imagined making it here, even at the start of the playoffs,” Viola said of playing in the state semifinals. “This was such a dream come true for all of us. And I just wanted to give it my all for this game. I wanted to leave my all on this court.”

Viola did just that, scoring East Meadow’s first eight points. She finished with 22 points, but it wasn’t enough for a victory as the size of Albertus Magnus was too much in an 89-51 loss for East Meadow in the state Class AA girls basketball semifinals at Hudson Valley CCC on Friday evening.

Even on her final high school shot, regardless of the fact the Jets trailed by more than 25 points, Viola made a hard drive to the basket, hit the ground and completed a three-point play. After that shot with three minutes left, Viola was subbed out and met coach Peter M. Olenik with a hug at the bench.

“I have to be honest, that one I just kind of threw it up and I was really glad it went in,” Viola said. “It was a cool last shot in my basketball career.”

“Charlotte’s onto much bigger and better things,” Olenik said. “She’s a bright girl, she’s one of the nicest, sweetest and most caring teammates I’ve coached in 30 years.”

Julia Scott, a 6-3 sophomore forward for Albertus Magnus, scored 37 points, including 29 in the first half. Her size was just too much for East Meadow, as Olenik said they “didn’t have an answer for her.”

Albertus Magnus (23-4) led 49-31 at halftime and outscored East Meadow 40-20 in the second half. Allie Twible added 13 points for East Meadow (20-6). 

The Jets won their first county and Long Island girls basketball championships in program history this season.

“It was just the perfect combination of the perfect girls,” Viola said. “Everyone on this team was so amazing. We had what it took to get here and we just gave our everything the whole playoffs.”

East Meadow was the No. 7 seed entering the Nassau Class AA Tournament. The Jets knocked off each of the top three seeds on their quest toward the county title before defeating Westhampton, 51-46, to advance to the state semifinals.

“Coming into the playoffs, that’s definitely when we peaked and we kept motivating ourselves from game to game,” Twible said. “We knew we could win the next one.”

“It was a dream come true to win the county championship,” Olenik said. “And then the Long Island championship is just on top of it as a great accomplishment.”

Olenik said, “Not in a million years,” did he think his team would make the state semifinals. The players echoed that sentiment. But just because they didn’t think they would didn’t mean they didn’t believe it was possible. The Jets continued to use internal and external motivations to prove themselves as they were the only girls basketball team from Nassau to make the state semifinals.

“I’m not disappointed with the score,” Olenik said. “The score is what the score is. That doesn’t say what type of basketball team we are. We know what type of basketball team we are and hopefully we made Long Island proud even if the outcome wasn’t what we thought it was. We came up and gave it our best shot and I’m not disappointed. I’m like a proud papa, that’s what I would say.”


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