Emma Heaney had 25 points, nine rebounds, five steals and...

Emma Heaney had 25 points, nine rebounds, five steals and four blocks in Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK's Nassau Class AAA quarterfinal win over Farmingdale on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

After the first eight minutes of basketball, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK’s girls basketball team looked nothing like the No. 3 seed in Nassau’s top conference.

The Hawks trailed 15-7 after the first quarter to No. 6 Farmingdale, a team who had beaten them in January. But if you thought Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK was out of it, you don’t know Emma Heaney and the Hawks.

Host Plainview-Old Bethpage roared back to win, 55-31, as Heaney had a game-high 25 points with nine rebounds, five steals and four blocks to send the Hawks to the Nassau AAA semifinals.

“I feel like we started slow,” Heaney, a junior, said. “But I feel like we came together defensively which helped us gain confidence and work together as a team.”

Heaney and the Hawks allowed just 16 points after the first quarter, finishing with 14 steals in the game. They did well to adjust to Farmingdale’s Leela Guobadia, who exited the first quarter with eight points and seven rebounds, all on the offensive glass. The senior averaged 15.6 points per game entering the day, but only scored three points throughout the rest of the game as the Hawks cut off inside passing lanes.

“We just had to think, ‘This is it. We win or go home,’ ” Heaney said. “Once we did that, we were able to push her and realize that she’s their force on offense. If we stop her, we win the game.”

The Dalers tried to limit Emily Brake, who scored 20 points against Farmingdale in January, as the junior got face-guarded by senior guard Ashlinn Kelly in the first quarter. Brake didn’t score in the first half but finished with 11 points while hitting 7 of 8 free-throw attempts.

“We knew that they would focus on Emily,” coach Nick Tomasulo said. “She’s capable of a lot of things, she can play at an All-County level at times.”

Kelly entered foul trouble early in the second quarter and sat for the rest of the half. She fouled out 25 seconds into the fourth quarter.

The comeback may not have happened without the effort of forward Rachel Ganz. The junior was constantly disruptive on defense while also adding 12 points. She had two three-pointers as the shot clock and game clock expired, respectively, while adding three steals and eight rebounds.

Farmingdale finishes the season with a 10-9 record. Plainview-Old Bethpage (15-6) will face No. 2 Syosset (16-5) Sunday at Farmingdale State.

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