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Kellenberg girls come up short in Class A final

Faces grow long on the Kellenberg bench as

Faces grow long on the Kellenberg bench as opponent Nazareth closes in on a 68-59 win in the NYCHSAA varsity girls' basketball Class A state championship game at Archbishop Molloy High School on Saturday, March 14, 2015. Photo Credit: James Escher / James Escher

Lindsey Ehrhardt certainly has made a name for herself.

It's printed on three different rosters at Kellenberg. And because she is a three-sport athlete -- one who nets many goals in lacrosse, finds the back of the net in soccer and often hits nothing but net in basketball -- her name also is printed in many boxscores.

But after Kellenberg fell to Nazareth, 68-59, in the CHSAA Class A state championship game Saturday night at Archbishop Molloy, she was most proud of helping make the name on the front of her jersey more familiar.

"We got to the state championship game two straight years and started to build up the name of Kellenberg," said Ehrhardt, who had 20 points. "I think the future is bright for this program."

The Firebirds, who led by 15 in the first half, held a 52-51 lead with 4:31 remaining after Ehrhardt sent an outlet pass downcourt to Keira Vassallo for a layup. But Nazareth's Shalix Hines, who scored 22 of her 24 points in the second half, converted a three-point play and hit a corner three-pointer during a 13-2 run that opened a 64-54 lead.

"We had a couple of mental lapses defensively and offensively," Ehrhardt said. "We had one too many breakdowns. But we fought hard."

Hard enough to build a comfortable lead at one point.

Ehrhardt delivered a cross-court pass to Vassallo, who hit the long two to open a 24-13 lead midway through the second quarter. Erin Sullivan then converted a layup and scored in the post to increase the lead to 15. Ehrhardt hit a pull-up jumper off the glass at the buzzer to send the Firebirds into the half up 35-23.

But Hines scored 14 points in the third, including a step-back three-pointer with 56 seconds left to pull Nazareth within 48-45 heading into the fourth.

"We didn't really adjust to their pressure," Kellenberg coach Matt Kirk said. "We were expecting them to start trapping and pressing. But we started to play hot potato with the basketball."

Niya Johnson scored 10 of her 22 points in the fourth for Nazareth (9-19). Morgan Staab had 11 points and Caitlyn Staab added nine for Kellenberg (19-10), which lost by three in the state final last season.

"We gave it our hardest, we just didn't get the outcome we wanted," Caitlyn Staab said. "But I couldn't have asked for a better two seasons."

Morgan Staab and point guard Kate Calabro (seven points) will be the focal points next season with the departure of Ehrhardt, who will play lacrosse at Loyola, and Caitlyn Stabb, who will play basketball at Mount St. Mary's University.

Does Caitlyn have any advice for her younger sister Morgan?

"Just play tough, play hard, and do what I taught you," she said with a laugh.

Added Kirk: "We have juniors that have been learning from this special group of seniors. I wouldn't be surprised if you see us back here next season. But there is no replacing Caitlyn Staab and Lindsey Ehrhardt."

Names that won't be forgotten.

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