Plainedge players celebrate their victory over Floral Park in the Nassau...

Plainedge players celebrate their victory over Floral Park in the Nassau Class A large school girls basketball finals on Saturday at Hofstra. Credit: George A Faella

The Plainedge girls basketball team has been in playoff mode since early February. Maybe that’s why once the postseason officially began, the Red Devils were already at their best.

Plainedge lost back-to-back games in late January, leaving a postseason appearance anything but guaranteed. The Red Devils responded by winning their final three regular-season games to qualify for the playoffs.

And the Red Devils haven’t lost since, culminating with a 47-42 victory for No. 6 Plainedge over No. 4 Floral Park to win the girls basketball Nassau Class A championship at Hofstra’s Mack Sports Complex Saturday afternoon.

"Our coaches told us we had to win (three) straight games just to get to the playoffs alone," senior Emma Kelly said. "So we worked really hard and look at us now."

Plainedge (17-6) advances to play West Babylon (20-3) in the Long Island Class A championship/Southeast Regional Final at Eastport-South Manor High School Saturday at 11 a.m after winning its first county title since 1986.

"We just made history," junior Ashley Sadowski said. "It feels special. I feel other girls are going to look up to us in the future and want to play basketball here."

Sadowski led Plainedge with 13 points. Kerry Svraka had 12 points and Kelly scored 10.

"This means everything," Svraka said. "I’ve been on this team for four years and we’ve always lost in the second round of the playoffs. To win the county championship my senior year, it’s all I’ve wanted."

Svraka made a key layup with 47.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give Plainedge a 44-37 advantage. Sadowski sank 3 of 4 foul shots over the final 20 seconds to help secure the victory.

"I was just smiling, I just wanted to make it," Sadowski said. "I felt there was a weight on my shoulders, but then I was able to let it go and we were able to secure the win."

Emma Kline had 18 points and Erin Harkins had 12 points for Floral Park (19-4).

Plainedge opened a 15-11 lead after the first quarter and led 25-15 at halftime. Floral Park pulled the score to within 39-37 with 2:31 remaining in the fourth quarter but Plainedge never trailed in the contest.

"They work so hard for each other," coach Sarah Tansey said. "There’s not a selfish kid on the team. We said since the beginning of the year, ‘We just have to make it to the playoffs and believe in each other’ and we did that. The confidence just grew with every win."

Plainedge and Floral Park were both battled-tested throughout the season, playing in Conference A-IV, which ended up having all four of its playoff teams reach the Class A semifinals. That competitiveness throughout the winter helped Plainedge.

"We treated every game like a playoff game down the stretch because we couldn’t lose," Tansey said. "We wouldn’t have even been here if we didn’t win those, so I think it prepared us for these moments. We’ve had a ton of close games that came down to the last minute or two and they were not frazzled at all."

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