Freshman Rosie Micucci led the Clippers with 17 points in...

Freshman Rosie Micucci led the Clippers with 17 points in Suffolk Class AA quarterfinal on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. Credit: George A Faella

The Bellport girls basketball team entered the 2023-24 season with seven total wins in the previous four years. But the Clippers have made this season one to remember with a playoff berth, and they topped that accomplishment with an even better one Friday afternoon.

No. 5 Bellport beat host No. 4 Comsewogue, 51-39, on Friday in the Suffolk Class AA quarterfinals. Coach Rynese Smith, who graduated from Bellport in 2011 and took over the team in 2022, wiped away tears not long after the road crowd spelled out and chanted “Bellport!” in the game’s final minutes.

“The girls put in the work every day. They show up for me, they show up for each other,” Smith said. “I get crazy, and they accept it. They push it. And it got us here.”

A pair of three-pointers by freshman forward Rosie Micucci plus one by senior Kaylee Graham — her first basket of the game — helped the Clippers take a 10-point lead with less than two minutes to play.

Micucci had 17 points, nine rebounds and five steals for Bellport (15-6), which outscored Comsewogue 19-6 in the fourth quarter.

“We go hard in practice and it just pays off in the games,” said Micucci, who first joined the team as a seventh-grader. “ . . . It was awesome to see the [support from the crowd]. All the people in the stands definitely played a role in getting us amped up.”

Seniors Autumn Simon and Brynn Johnsen were equally instrumental in the win.

Simon (15 points, seven rebounds, three blocks) was a persistent thorn in Comsewogue’s side. Her dominance in the paint set the stage for the late three-pointers after Bellport went three quarters without one. She also connected on all seven of her free-throw attempts.

Johnsen jumped in front of passes to record steals and was disruptive the whole game, particularly on fast breaks. The guard had 14 points and five steals for the Clippers, who shot 19-for-29 from the free-throw line. Comsewogue got to the line only seven times, making four.

Jalynn Kirschenheuter hit a trio of three-pointers in the first quarter for Comsewogue. Smith responded by switching to a man-to-man defense, which allowed more interior space but cut off Kirschenheuter in the corner, and Comsewogue (13-7) did not record a three-pointer for the rest of the game.

Kirschenheuter and sophomore Vienna Guzman scored 11 points each.

Bellport will face No. 1 Half Hollow Hills East — which beat No. 8 Smithtown West, 67-55 — at Whitman on Monday.

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