Gigi Faison, her body trembling and voice wavering, could barely express her emotions.
The freshman scored all nine of her points in the final 10 minutes Tuesday to lead Elmont to a 47-46 win over host Sewanhaka after a second half that saw Sewanhaka overcome a nine-point deficit.
Elmont’s other top players were Kem Nwabadu, who finished the game with eight points and 14 rebounds, and Zhaneia Thybulle, who scored 12 points.
“It was agonizing,” Faison said. “It was such a close game. It was so hard to keep it going.”
It was redemption for Faison, who struggled to make shots until late in the third quarter. But when Elmont trailed 26-25 with 2:15 left in the third, Faison hoisted a floater, which hit the back of the rim and missed. She hauled in the rebound and went up to convert on the second-chance opportunity, giving her team the lead.
Faison scored the final four points of the quarter for Elmont, which held a 31-29 lead after three.
“One thing doesn’t do is back down from any situation,” coach Tom Magno said. “She hadn’t been playing well. I give her props for hanging in there.”
It was a defensive battle early, with Elmont holding a 21-12 at the half.
Sewanhaka (5-2) came out firing in the third, using a 13-4 run to claim the lead at 26-25 before Faison took over. Destiny Hurt (12 points) played inspired basketball for the Indians, scoring eight of the 13 and willing her team back.
Nwabudu, who played tough against Sewanhaka’s Casey Hayes (11 points, 18 rebounds), blamed complacency for Elmont’s slow start.
Thybulle nailed a corner three to open the fourth, but Sewanhaka’s Amanda Commisso answered with two straight jumpers, cutting the deficit to one at 34-33 with 6:45 remaining.
The two sides traded leads until Faison struck again with 1:33 to go. Faison wisely found Jada Fernandez with a bounce pass under the basket after she was met with two defenders down low. But Fernandez made the layup and gave Elmont (7-0) a 45-44 lead, which it wouldn’t relinquish.
“They have an unmatched motor,” Sewanhaka coach Alex Soupios said. “Every one of those girls is aggressive.”
These Nassau A-I powerhouses meet again on Feb. 8 at Elmont in the regular-season finale.
“All the next games coming up are going to lead us to Sewanhaka at the end of the regular season,” Nwabudu said.