St. Anthony's teammates, from left, #12 Rebecca Musgrove, #24 Symone...

St. Anthony's teammates, from left, #12 Rebecca Musgrove, #24 Symone Kelly and #21 Johanna Impellizeri host their team's championship plaque after defeating St. John the Baptist. (March 4, 2012) Credit: James Escher

St. Anthony's had a one-point lead with 14 seconds left in the game, but the Friars missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving St. John the Baptist a shot to pull off the upset.

Johanna Impellizeri made sure it never came to that.

The St. Anthony's junior forward intercepted a pass by Veronica Peck with four seconds to play and quickly passed to Tyla Parham, who was fouled with two seconds left. Parham hit both free throws to provide the final margin as top-seeded St. Anthony's eked out a 51-48 win over St. John the Baptist Sunday in the NSCHSAA girls basketball championship game at LIU Post.

St. Anthony's (23-4), which is ranked No. 22 in the country by USA Today, won the title for the second consecutive season and has won 33 straight games against Long Island CHSAA teams.

"Everyone was screaming and I just saw the ball coming and Tyla was open," said Impellizeri, who had six points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. "I trusted her to make a play out of it. We just wanted to play good defense and not foul. I'm glad it worked out."

St. Anthony's coach Ken Parham said: "That's a great job by Jo shooting the gap and getting the steal. She's such a smart basketball player. She's definitely valuable for our team. She does a lot of the little things that you saw at the end of the game all game long. The boxscore doesn't do her justice."

Symone Kelly, the CHSAA Player of the Year, was named the game's MVP. The Siena-bound Kelly had 20 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.

Kelly scored inside off a pass from Rebecca Musgrove with 1:55 left to give the Friars a 49-46 lead. Kelly also blocked a shot with 57 seconds left before Lauren Williams scored for St. John the Baptist to cut it to 49-48 with 19 seconds left.

Brianna Thomas scored 16 points for SJB (17-10) but fouled out with 3:01 left in the game. Anastasia Williams (11 points) picked up her fourth foul, a technical, for kicking a Friars player with 4:37 left in the third quarter and sat out the remainder of the quarter.

"We didn't get the ball in the hands of the players we need to," SJB coach Ted Oberg said. "We made mental errors."

Peck tied the score at 42 for SJB with 5:04 left in the game. Shannon White answered right back with a three-pointer to give the Friars the lead for good at 45-42 with 4:46 left.

St. Anthony's beat SJB by 27 points in December and 22 points in January.

"They were a lot better and much stronger," Kelly said. "I just wanted to win this game. It's huge for our school."

St. Anthony's will play Molloy in the first round of the CHSAA Class AA state playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Francis Prep. SJB will play Nazareth in the first round at 5:45 p.m.

"We knew they wanted to get that last shot, so we just had to stay in front on defense," Musgrove said. "JoJo had an amazing steal. Obviously, they wanted to win just as bad as we did. I am glad we did."


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months