Meagan Doherty has been wearing a brace on her left leg that goes from the middle of her thigh to her ankle. The Sachem East sophomore guard missed six games earlier in the season with a partially torn ACL and returned Jan. 5 wearing the brace.
Doherty switched from a post-op brace to an athletic knee brace last week and said it has made a big difference. Doherty scored a career-high 23 points for Sachem East in a 59-31 win over Center Moriches Saturday in the Suffolk overall girls basketball championship at Farmingdale State.
"The past couple games I haven't been shooting well," Doherty said. "I have my new brace and now I am getting back to where I was. I'm much faster. It doesn't slow me down as much. I can get down low. I can bend my leg on my shot."
That was abundantly clear. Doherty scored 16 of her points in a 32-13 second half. She hit five three-pointers in the game.
"Meagan stepped up," said her sister Kristen, who had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists and has 2,165 career points. "She's a really reliable three-point shooter. You could see she's faster, quicker, and plays better defense."
Kelsey Glanzman hit two free throws early in the fourth quarter for Center Moriches (15-7), which didn't score the rest of the game. Meagan Doherty scored seven consecutive points to give the Flaming Arrows a 51-31 lead.
"Meagan has the firepower to get it done," Sachem East coach Matt Brisson said. "She's had a long year struggling with the injury. She's much, much better than she was. That long brace was a hindrance. The new one gives her better mobility."
Sachem East was coming off a 72-69 win over North Babylon in a classic county Class AA final Thursday night. The atmosphere was completely different Saturday and the score was tied early in the second quarter before Sachem East took a 27-18 lead at the half.
"We were all so exhausted," Kristen Doherty said. "That game took everything out of us. It was early in the morning and our legs were so sore."
Center Moriches, led by Amber Davis' 10 points, will play Locust Valley for the Long Island Class B championship at 5 p.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph's (L.I.).
"The first half we could have had a lead," Center Moriches coach Rich Alifano said. "We missed some easy baskets. In the second half, their talent, speed and size caught up with us. It was a very good experience for us. You're playing one of the best teams in the state."
Sachem East will play Baldwin for the Long Island Class AA championship at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Farmingdale State. Sachem East reached the county final for the third consecutive year and won after losing twice. Meagan Doherty scored three points in the final, but it didn't bother her.
"Not at all," Doherty said. "I went home to my family and told them I would have been fine with zero points. That game meant so much to me. It doesn't matter who scores. Finally, it was us going out with a win."