Lilah Grubman scored nine of her 20 points in the...

Lilah Grubman scored nine of her 20 points in the fourth quarter to help Syosset beat Massapequa in Nassau Class AA semifinals at Hofstra on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. Credit: Bob Sorensen

There was no question with a trip to the county final at stake who the Syosset girls basketball team wanted to have control of the game. With Syosset trailing by one point entering the fourth quarter, senior guard Lilah Grubman understood it was her moment to take over.

"I just realized I didn’t want this to be my last game in this program," Grubman said. "I wanted to take this team and have them take me as far as we could go and be the best we could be. That’s what fueled me."

Grubman scored nine of her 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead No. 2 Syosset to a 51-44 victory over No. 3 Massapequa in the Nassau Class AA semifinals at Hofstra’s Mack Sports Complex Tuesday afternoon.

"She’s the one," coach Michael Ferreira said. "We’re going to win or lose with her and I think she’s done a great job the last five years of helping us win a lot. But if there’s a shot that needs to be taken, she’s the one to take it and we know she’s going to knock it down more often than not."

Syosset (19-2) advances to play top-seeded Baldwin (15-4) in the Nassau Class AA final at 2:30 p.m. March 5 at Hofstra. Massapequa finishes 16-5.

Grubman, who is committed to play at Yale, had multiple key baskets, rebounds and assists in the fourth quarter, including hitting a straightaway three-pointer to give Syosset a 48-42 advantage with 1:17 remaining.

"I was a bit nervous as I released it like, ‘Is it going to go in?’ " Grubman said. "And then as I saw it go through the air, I knew that was in. And I knew that would be a spark for everyone on the team and in the crowd."

Jillian Oresky scored five of her 12 points in the fourth quarter and Carly Greenbaum added 11 points, including a three-pointer that gave Syosset a 42-37 lead with 4:45 remaining.

The back-and-forth contest featured seven ties and six lead changes. Alexa Cirabisi (14 points) made a three-pointer followed by a layup for Massapequa to cut Syosset’s lead to 45-42 with 1:30 remaining. But Syosset, which defeated Massapequa twice in the regular season by a combined 11 points, closed with a 6-2 run.

"Everyone always says it’s hard to beat a team three times," Ferreira said. "I don’t buy into that, but it’s hard to beat a team like Massapequa because they have tough athletes over there and they are going to make you earn it."

Massapequa opened a 25-20 lead at halftime and Syosset answered with a 10-4 run to take a 30-29 advantage with 1:44 left in the third quarter. Massapequa led 34-33 entering the fourth quarter.

"We knew what to expect," Grubman said. "We knew we’d need to fight hard and we were just determined. We really wanted to make it to the championship game this year and we weren’t going to let anything get in our way."

Next up will be a daunting task for Syosset as Baldwin has won seven straight and 10 of the last 11 Nassau Class AA titles. But the players feel ready for the opportunity.

"It’s definitely going to be a challenge," Grubman said. "They have a great team, their coach is great and I just think it’s going to be a battle all 32 minutes. Just like this game, but probably even more intense and fast-paced. I’m excited to see how we’ll do."


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