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East Rockaway has bright future led by Alessia Drevnyak

East Rockaway center Alessia Drevnyak looks to shoot

East Rockaway center Alessia Drevnyak looks to shoot while being defended by Pine Plains forward Ashley Starzyk during the Southeast Region Class C girls basketball final on Friday, March 4, 2016. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Senior captain Caitlin O’Mara was speaking of how much potential her team has moving forward. Then she paused, noticed her 6-1 teammate standing nearby, and smiled.

“Especially her,” O’Mara said, nodding at Alessia Drevnyak. “I don’t want to, like, play favorites, but . . . ”

The two are close friends, but this was no case of favoritism, given the numbers Drevnyak put up Friday night. Though East Rockaway fell to Pine Plains, 48-38, in a Class C girls basketball regional final at St. Joseph’s College, Drevnyak recorded a triple-double with 17 points, 20 rebounds and 14 blocks.

“She’s amazing,” O’Mara said. “She knows what she has to do, she knows what she can do, and she gets it done.”

After Pine Plains took a 13-point lead midway through the third quarter, Drevnyak controlled the boards to help power a 9-0 run. Juliet McCarthy’s straightaway three-pointer just before the buzzer cut the deficit to 35-31.

But Pine Plains’ Frances Snyder rattled in a three-pointer with 5:31 remaining, one of her six three-pointers in the game, to spark a 9-0 run that opened a 47-34 lead.

“I’ll tell you one thing, they don’t quit,” East Rockaway coach Karin Leary said of her team. “Our little chippies weren’t falling tonight. They were going in and out, unfortunately. But we were right there with a very tough team.”

Despite being surrounded by the most size she’d seen all season, Drevnyak couldn’t be contained on the offensive glass. Her rim protection, whether guarding in the post or as a help defender, limited points in the paint on the defensive end.

But the outside shots were falling for Pine Plains, which hit eight three-pointers.

“I’m very proud of my team,” Drevnyak said. “I didn’t know we would make it this far. We tried very hard. Now we know what we have to do next year.”

Snyder had 19 points for Pine Plains, which advanced to the state semifinals in Troy.

McCarthy had nine points and Brooke DeGiulio added eight for East Rockaway (11-11).

The Rocks will lose only two seniors in O’Mara, a strong outside shooter, and Erica Acampora, an athletic rebounder and defender. But the rest of the team will return next season as defending Long Island Class C champions.

“They know how good they are and they know they can do it,” O’Mara said. “They have big potential.”

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