Sachem East guard Alexis Berger hits the baseline layup for...

Sachem East guard Alexis Berger hits the baseline layup for two points against Connetquot in the Suffolk Class AAA playoffs on Thursday at Sachem East. Credit: George A Faella

Alexis Berger was the walking, talking definition of senior leadership for this Sachem East girls basketball team Thursday night in the eyes of her coach.

“If you have senior leadership, you can have a team,” Thomas Erb said. “And that’s exactly what she showed.”

Eighth-seeded Sachem East was missing starters Abby Morrongiello and Olivia Barone due to injuries for its Suffolk AAA outbracket home game against No. 9 Connetquot. But Berger was at the forefront of the group that stepped up and made up for their absence.

The shooting guard nailed four three-pointers and delivered 26 points in a 69-37 win.

“The bright lights came on and she showed up tonight,” Erb said. “Not shocking one bit.”

So this 12-9 team advanced to the quarterfinals. It will play Saturday (noon) at top-seeded, 20-0 Commack. Sachem East lost to the Cougars, 59-19, back on Dec. 5.

“I think if we just keep putting in the effort like we’ve been doing, you never know what could happen,” Berger said.

Shannon Glasson added 12 points to the cause. Madelyn Barone had 10 points and seven rebounds. Bridget Hansen contributed eight rebounds. Sofia Larrea had seven points, six steals and three assists.

Madison Mileti scored 18 for Connetquot, which finished 11-10 after making the program’s first playoff appearance in 13 years.

“These girls have worked hard for three years since I’ve been here, and I’ve had a lot of them for that time,” coach Sal Piscitelli said. “It’s exciting to get into the playoffs. Yeah, they’re upset.”

Berger scored 10 points and Sachem East led, 18-16, after eight minutes.

Then Berger scored eight more, including two threes, in the second quarter. The advantage expanded to 34-22 at halftime.

“We’ve been working really hard throughout the week,” Berger said. “Our coach really put us in great positions on offense, pushed us hard, gave us all the confidence we needed to score and shoot the ball whenever we’re open.”

Larrea hit a three to trigger a 7-0 burst to open the third, and it was a 19-point margin.

Samantha Madigan drained a three to make it a 49-29 game heading for the fourth.

So Sachem East overcame.

“We felt that we had a chance to go ahead and speed them up and turn them over and get some easy fast-break points,” Erb said. “We also had some great looks at three and we shot the ball well tonight.”

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