Even though Gabby Sartori knew she would break the Mount Sinai girls basketball scoring record this season, when the time came to make the final basket, she couldn’t help but wrestle the nerves.
“I didn’t know the whole game,” Sartori said, “but once I was three points away, it definitely had a little bit of pressure.”
Sartori, like she has done countless times for the Mustangs, made a basket in the process of getting fouled — tying her for the school record for career points. On her way to the free-throw line, she had one thing in mind — etching her name in the record books.
“I was nervous, not going to lie,” Sartori said. “But thank God I swished it in.”
After the basket, coach Jeff Koutsantanou called timeout and the team celebrated Sartori’s achievement, scoring her 29th point of the game and 1,442nd on her varsity career, in a 67-20 victory over Wyandanch Dec. 14.
Sartori surpassed Victoria Johnson’s record of 1,441 points set in 2017, Koutsantanou said. After adding a 25-point performance in a 51-38 victory over Shoreham-Wading River Tuesday, the 5-9 senior has been named Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.
“It’s definitely something I’ve always admired and it comes with people knowing how much work you put in and what you’ve given to the program,” said the six-year varsity forward. “I definitely wouldn't have done it without my team.”
Sartori was called up to varsity as a seventh grader, following a three-win season. Mount Sinai has enjoyed steady progress since, including a Suffolk Class A title in 2017 and reaching the county final last winter.
“She’s one of the major reasons we were able to turn around the program,” Koutsantanou said. “Before we had three wins, every year we seemed to get better and better.”
All in the process of creating nightmare matchups for opposing coaches after learning and competing with older players.
“It was just a gift to play with girls who have now already graduated from college,” Sartori said. “Now I’m getting responses from coaches of ‘When the heck are you leaving?’ ”
Before that time comes, Sartori has unfinished business. After falling to Hauppauge, 51-40, in the Suffolk A championship after entering the final with a 22-0 record, Sartori didn’t immediately move on to lacrosse season.
“After that loss, I was back in the gym that next day,” she said. “That definitely stuck with me. Every day since, that was in the back in my mind and every day since, we’ve been motivated to be back there. It’s going to be a fun one to watch.”
But upon graduation, Sartori will need to trade in her basketball sneakers for a commitment to play lacrosse at Brown University. But she said basketball helped create that toughness she takes both on the hardwood and the field.
“I give credit to basketball for all of my athletic achievements,” Sartori said. “I have this amazing opportunity to play at Brown and basketball’s given me bunch of bumps and bruises, making me tougher and it’s definitely close to my heart. I definitely want to leave everything on the court and breaking this record definitely helps me solidify it as well.”