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Hartley scores 51, but high school career ends

North Babylon's Bria Hartley (14) drives against Sachem's

North Babylon's Bria Hartley (14) drives against Sachem's Kelsey Furgeson (4)in the first half. (March 4, 2010) Photo Credit: Photo by Joseph D. Sullivan

The superstar who seemingly controlled the action like a choreographer, and the ball as if she had telepathic powers, could do nothing more than crouch and shake her head beneath the basket.

The clock had expired on Bria Hartley's illustrious high school career and the scoreboard read: 72-69, Sachem East.

Her final possession was one of the rare occasions in which Hartley couldn't slip the defenders. With her team down three and facing a triple-team in the left corner with the dwindling shot clock her nemesis, Hartley had no choice but to defy what every storybook would have scripted. She passed on the final shot, slinging the ball to a teammate for a shot that came up short.

"I just wanted to win," said Hartley as she took congratulatory handshakes from fans and hugs of consolation from teammates. "It didn't work out, but I know it was the right play."

It was Hartley's show from the second quarter on as she scored 44 of her 51 points - a Long Island playoff record - to lead North Babylon's rally. Hartley surpassed her previous high of 43 points, set Monday against Smithtown West.

The Bulldogs trailed 26-12 in the second quarter, but she brought them to within 31-30 at intermission. The Bulldogs fell behind again 47-36 in the third quarter and the one-girl wrecking crew carried them back, even taking a 68-67 lead on her three-pointer with 1:10 left.

"She played absolutely amazing," said Sachem East star Kristen Doherty, who hugged Hartley afterward. "You can't take that away from her."

Hartley planted a defender's rear to the floor with her signature step-back crossover in the third. She attempted the move again with 14 seconds left but lost the ball, causing a shot-clock violation. Still, Hartley insisted she'll have no regrets.

"I'm looking into lacrosse season," said Hartley, who finished with 1,978 points. "It's a game. I'll recover from this tomorrow . . . I just want to do more at college than I did here."

Said North Babylon coach Mike Petre: "It was an epic performance. She's the No. 1 player I've seen in my [14] years. She's been the hallmark of our program and we're proud to have been associated with her."

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