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Lindsay O'Sullivan, Rose Mangiarotti lead Friends Academy to LI Class C title

Friends Academy players rush onto the court to

Friends Academy players rush onto the court to celebrate their victory over Pierson/Bridgehampton in the Long Island Class C girls basketball championship game at St. Joseph's College on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Credit: Daniel De Mato

Friends Academy keeps rollin' with Ro and Lin.

Rose Mangiarotti -- called "Ro" -- is a 5-11 forward who cleans the glass, finishes inside and protects the rim.

Lindsay O'Sullivan -- called "Lin" -- is a 5-11 forward who, well, cleans the glass, finishes inside and protects the rim.

Yes, they're quite similar on the court -- in height, style of play, and even appearance. Ro and Lin were certainly on a roll Tuesday as they helped lift Friends Academy to a 54-44 win over Pierson in the Long Island Class C final / southeast regional semifinal at St. Joseph's (L.I.).

"Teams that haven't played us before don't know how tall we are," Mangiarotti said. "It's probably a little shocking to them."

Shocking for opponents and highly successful for Friends Academy, which captured a second straight Long Island championship after winning the program's first last season.

O'Sullivan had 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks and Mangiarotti had 13 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks.

Pierson's condensed 2-3 zone limited the Quakers' offense inside until midway through the third quarter. Friends Academy began to press on defense and spread the floor on offense, opening things up for the duo.

Mangiarotti's three-point play on a putback with 4:52 left in the third ignited a 17-3 run to end the quarter. O'Sullivan made a spin move into the paint and converted a baby hook just before the buzzer to cap the run, giving the Quakers a 38-26 lead heading into the fourth.

The lead swelled to 44-29 on a jumper by Stella Davis, then to 51-31 on another putback by Mangiarotti.

Kristina Kim, a tall team's tall point guard at 5-9, finished with 10 points and eight assists.

"This type of group we have right now comes along only once a decade, maybe," Friends coach Ryan Schneider said. "This group just has it."

Kasey Gilbride had 12 points to lead Pierson (13-8), including a three-point play on a fast break that helped pull the Whalers within single digits in the final minute.

Pierson senior captain May Evjen, who scored 11 points, said that each player on the team wrote their name and number on a poker chip earlier this season and placed them in a plastic bag. Before each game, the players place a hand on the bag and shout, "All in!"

They did so for the final time Tuesday but walked off the court knowing they brought home the program's first county title since 2000.

"We played a great game today, even though we didn't win," Evjen said. "I'm so proud that we made it here that it doesn't even feel like a loss."

With a win in the regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday at New Rochelle High School, Friends Academy (17-2) will advance to the state tournament in Troy.

"We've worked endlessly to try to build this team to what it is today," O'Sullivan said. "It's just great for it to pay off and to see it in action."

As they're rollin' along.

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