Gabrielle Zaffiro + her North Shore teammates = Long Island champions.
Pardon the equation, but Zaffiro is something of a mathematician. And Friday night, the freshman guard put up some big numbers while leading the Vikings to a 49-47 win over Harborfields in the Long Island Class A championship game at LIU Post.
Add it all up, and she now has to miss her math fair on Friday to play in the state tournament.
"I've been working really hard on my project," said Zaffiro, who had 21 points and has been working on a mathematical project related to the Earth's circumference. "But we just won Long Island, so I'm willing to miss it to go upstate."
After North Shore missed a free throw with the Vikings up two and 7.9 seconds left, Harborfields' Christiana de Borja pushed the ball upcourt. Kelly Johansen managed to knock the ball free and dived on it, sealing North Shore's first Long Island girls basketball championship.
"I had to step up because I wasn't putting up a lot of points for the team," Johansen said. "I felt like as long as I helped my team out by playing some sort of defense, it was the best I could do."
Sam Capobianco had 11 points. Alex Cantwell added nine, including two free throws to give North Shore a 49-47 lead with 1:22 left.
"We always joked at practice that we aren't graduating until we win Long Island," Cantwell said. "We've always been so close. Our goal was to get to states and we finally did."
North Shore (19-2) plays in the state semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Hudson Valley Community College against the Bishop Kearney / Williamsville South winner.
Donasja Scott had 16 points for Harborfields (19-5), which was denied a third straight Long Island championship. Helena Ottaviano added eight points, including a three-pointer that tied the score at 47 with 2:29 left.
Zaffiro, who scored 13 points in the first half, hit a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter off a kick-out from Cantwell to give North Shore a 42-37 lead.
"I couldn't have done it without my teammates," Zaffiro said. "It's them who got me the ball and I was luckily able to make the shots."
Luckily? That doesn't quite add up.
As for that math project . . .
"Academics come first," she said, "but I love basketball 10 times more than math."
It's simple arithmetic.