There was no smelling salts around to wake up East Rockaway, so Alyssa Marinazzo took it upon herself to provide the jolt the Rocks needed. East Rockaway led by three points at halftime, but the Rocks weren't playing up to their capabilities.
Marinazzo, a senior guard, is the first player off the bench for top-seeded East Rockaway and she provided the charge that got the Rocks going. She scored a season-high 13 points in a 49-32 win over No. 2 Friends Academy last night in the Nassau Class C championship game at C.W. Post.
East Rockaway (16-2) will play the winner of Nassau Class B in the Small School championship at noon Feb. 27 at C.W. Post.
"I just needed to step up," Marinazzo said. "I'm the one that usually provides the spark off the bench. This was just my game to be on."
East Rockaway hasn't needed that much this season with many blowouts in league play. But the Rocks were tied at 14 with 4:04 left in the first half. They ended the half with a 21-18 lead.
It all changed in the second half. Marinazzo had nine of her points in a 28-14 half.
"Alyssa has been consistent all season," East Rockaway coach Karin Leary said. "The last two games she has hit some big baskets. She doesn't score much. She does the little things."
East Rockaway led 21-20 early in the third quarter before pulling away. Alli Pacheco hit a three-pointer and a jumper to make it 26-20. Pacheco then fed Emily D'Archangelis for a layup and a 28-20 lead.
Marinazzo scored five points in the final 2:30 of the quarter, including a three-pointer with 18 seconds left to cap a 17-5 third quarter giving the Rocks a 38-23 lead. She then scored the first five points of the fourth quarter for the Rocks to make it 43-29.
East Rockaway won four consecutive county championships before losing two of the last three.
"We wanted to bring this thing back," Leary said. "I think they came out tense because of that. That was East Rockaway basketball in the second half."
C. Place 57, Oyster Bay 43: Emily Mullin had 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists to lead No. 3 Carle Place (12-6) in the Nassau Class B semifinals. Alison Laga scored 14 points, Dana McLaughlin had 13 points, five rebounds and three steals and Jill Flecker had six points and 16 rebounds. Keri Bongiovanni scored 20 points and Joshlyn Grant had 19 for No. 2 Oyster Bay (6-12). Carle Place will face No. 1 Locust Valley in the final at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at C.W. Post.
L. Valley 63, Malverne 37: Isabel Pagliaccio scored 12 of her 19 points in a 35-17 second half and added 14 rebounds to lead No. 1 Locust Valley over No. 4 Malverne (6-13) in the Class B semifinals. Courtney Morgan scored 12 points with 10 rebounds and Natasha Jachan had eight point and seven assists.