Sara Kealey of MacArthur, second from left, celebrates with teammates after...

Sara Kealey of MacArthur, second from left, celebrates with teammates after the Generals' 58-50 win over Division in the Nassau Class AA girls basketball quarterfinals at MacArthur on Thursday. Credit: James Escher

Throughout the season, the MacArthur girls basketball team has stressed the importance of the first three minutes of the second half. The Generals weren’t messing around with that approach on Thursday night.

After seeing their 14-point lead evaporate to a two-point advantage in the first half, the Generals were in jeopardy of undoing all the good they had started the game with. But MacArthur scored the first 14 points of the third quarter to open up a commanding lead en route to a 58-50 victory for the third-seeded Generals over No. 6 Division in a Nassau Class AA quarterfinal at a jam-packed and electric MacArthur High School.

MacArthur outscored Division, 17-8, in the third quarter to take a 49-32 lead into the final period.

Sara Kealey, who finished with 16 points, hit a three-pointer from the corner to open the 14-0 second-half run in a matchup of two Levittown schools separated by three miles. 

“I feel it set the tone for the team,” Kealey said. “It’s all a team effort, that’s what it comes down to. And in a game like this when it’s definitely our rivals, it’s really important to us because things like this matter. Taking that lead really set us up and we were ready to go.”

MacArthur (18-3) advances to play No. 7 East Meadow (17-5) in the Nassau Class AA semifinals at 7 p.m. on Monday at Farmingdale State College.

“We came out flying,” coach Dave Radtke said. “It changed the whole tone of the game. It got them more comfortable and they just played loose. Division cut it to a few and they just turned it to another gear. They have no fear.”

Meaghan Campbell had 18 points, Ani Angelakis added 12 points and Ysabelle Perillo had 10 points. Emma Robins had 17 points with Ashley Anderson and Alice Beckett each adding 12 points for Division (16-6).

MacArthur went on their first 14-0 run over 3:50 in the first quarter to take a 22-8 lead with 1:07 left in the opening period. Angelakis started the run with a three-pointer. Five different Generals scored during that spurt.

Division opened the second quarter on a 9-1 run to cut the Generals’ lead to 23-21 with 3:54 left before halftime. MacArthur’s Campbell, Kealey and Angelakis each hit three-pointers over the final 3:38 and the Generals took a 32-24 lead into the locker room.

Anderson’s three fourth quarter three-pointers cut MacArthur’s lead to 54-46 with 2:03 left, but Division couldn’t bring the score any closer and MacArthur’s saw it’s dream of a first county championship in program history continue.

“I think that’s getting everyone going to really want to do this,” Kealey said. “It’s setting a high bar for us to work even harder to get that.”

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