Kelly McKeveny was asked how she felt after hitting her first three-pointer of the fourth quarter. “Relaxed,” she said.
How about after her second three? “Then I knew I was hot.”
After her third? “I was surprised they were still leaving me open.”
And after her fourth? “I was like, ‘Is this real?’ ”
The junior guard scored 14 of her career-high 17 points in the fourth quarter, including four three-pointers, to propel No. 8 Sachem East to a 54-44 win over No. 4 Copiague on Sunday in a Suffolk Class AA semifinal at Stony Brook University.
McKeveny, who comes off the bench, entered Sunday averaging 3.7 points per game. She had hit only seven three-pointers all season, and never more than two in a game. On Sunday, she hit five.
“You may call it great coaching,” Sachem East coach Brent Lawrence joked, “but when Kelly decides to make four threes in the fourth quarter, it kind of makes your coaching strategies a lot easier.”
When the Flaming Arrows’ offense was struggling early, Gabby Aspuru kept them in the game by aggressively attacking the basket. She scored eight of Sachem East’s 13 first-half points and finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists. “She was carrying us,” Lawrence said.
Danielle Cosgrove scored 15 of her 18 points in the second half, helping Sachem East erase a deficit that grew to 11 points in the third quarter. Her hook shot with 5:47 left gave the Flaming Arrows a 36-35 lead, their first since the opening seconds.
A putback by Copiague’s Keyanah Jackson tied it at 39 with 4:17 to go. Mc Kev eny then hit her first three of the quarter with 4:01 left for a 42-39 lead. She hit three more in the next 2:46 to help open a 52-41 lead.
Mikaiya Moore had 20 points and Anna Zaborowska added 11 for Copiague (17-4). Sachem East (13-8), which has no seniors on the team, will play Commack in the county final at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. This after opening the season with a 1-5 record. “People didn’t really put us here at the beginning of the season,” said Cosgrove (12 rebounds). “So we’re proud of how far we’ve come.”
The turning point, Lawrence said, occurred when Sachem East beat Archbishop Molloy, 47-46, on Jan. 30 to start its current seven-game winning streak. With seconds left in that game, Mc Keveny hit the game-winning three. It was her best game of the season — until Sunday. “When you hit one three, you always feel good,” she said. “Then when you hit two, and then three and four, you’re like, ‘Wow! They’re all going in for me today!’ ”