Kacey Burden has a knack for the big moment.
In last season’s Nassau Class B girls basketball championship game, Burden hit the game-winning layup for Carle Place. Yet she found a way to one-up herself this year.
With the score tied at 58 on Thursday night, the senior turned her misfortune into success. Rather than fretting after missing two free throws with 36 seconds left, Burden promptly stole the ball at midcourt, scored, was fouled and completed the three-point play to give the Frogs the lead with 23.1 seconds left in overtime.
No. 1 Carle Place went on to win its second straight Nassau Class B championship, beating No. 2 Oyster Bay, 62-58, at LIU Post. Carle Place is 13-6; Oyster Bay finished 15-6.
After missing the two free throws, Burden locked her eyes on Gianna Gotti’s hips as Gotti brought the ball upcourt. Burden waited for her moment to strike.
“The second I saw her cross over to the left,” Burden said, “I was like, ‘I’m ready, I’m on my toes,’ and I went for it, and if I didn’t get it, I didn’t get it, but I went all in for it.”
So Burden found a positive way to make amends for the missed free throws. “She was angry with herself,” coach Michael Bello said. “I think most high school girls would say ‘I can’t do it,’ but she said, ‘Give me the ball back.’ ”
Burden (26 points, 14 rebounds) and Gotti (40 points) went back-and-forth throughout the game, willing their teams to stay in the contest.
Burden had 18 of Carle Place’s 24 second-half points and three of its nine in overtime. “There’s not one person who can play Kacey in conference,” Bello said.
Gotti scored 35 of Oyster Bay’s final 44 points, including 15 in the second quarter. She drove and also hit floaters, mid-range shots and three-pointers. “Gianna did what Gianna does,” Bello said. “I don’t know how she gets some of those shots to go in, but they go in, and you got to give her a lot of credit for that.”
Kacey wasn’t the only productive Burden. Her freshman sister, Leah, finished with 10 points, including the first three of overtime. Abigail Selhorn and Elissa Frein added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
“I was really nervous at the beginning,” Leah said, “but once I took that first shot, I was like, ‘OK, I’m playing, I’m here to win, I’m going to win.’ ”
Carle Place will play Mattituck for the Long Island Class B title on March 1 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.