Gabby Sartori wanted to leave no doubt.
She squared to the basket from the center-court logo with time winding down in the first half and unleashed a buzzer-beating three-pointer off the glass, putting the Mount Sinai girls basketball team ahead by 20 heading into halftime.
The No. 5 Mustangs rode that wave of momentum through the rest of Wednesday night’s game and earned a 71-44 win over No. 6 Westhampton in the Suffolk Class A championship at Centereach.
“It’s just a statement,” said Sartori, who had 18 points. “That shot, it got me going. It got us going. Anything to rally the troops.”
Mount Sinai will play in the Suffolk small schools championship against Pierson/Bridgehampton/Shelter Island on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Whitman. The Mustangs also punched their ticket to the Long Island Class A championship game on March 9 at Farmingdale State.
Brooke Cergol had 26 points, and Margaret Kopceinski had 14 points off the bench. Kopceinski entered to shoot free throws for Sartori early in the second quarter after she fell hard driving to the basket.
Kopceinski made both attempts, then she knocked down three-pointers on consecutive possessions, extending the lead to 29-11. She made four three-pointers, the last of which put Mount Sinai (20-3) ahead 60-30.
“I haven’t been shooting well, so for me to actually get back in the game and shoot well was really nice,” Kopceinski said.
Westhampton led 8-6 after Olivia Rongo’s short jumper, but that was the last time the Hurricanes held an advantage. Even as Isabelle Smith (22 points) pushed the pace for Westhampton (17-6), the Mustangs continued to shoot at a high percentage.
The lead steadily climbed, as Mount Sinai sought to avenge its loss in last year’s county final as the undefeated No. 1 seed.
“We came in with just a different attitude,” Cergol said. “We came in knowing what we had to do. Our coaches prepared us so well. We came into this game screaming excited.”
Clutching the gold county champion plaque, Cergol was ecstatic.
“To finally hold this, it’s insane,” she said. “This is all we wanted for the last year.”
Sartori ensured it’d happen and emphasized how everything seemed to go the Mustangs’ way with her dagger at the halftime buzzer. Though there was still a half to play, that proved to Kopceinski that Mount Sinai had the game in the bag.
Said Kopceinski: “That shot just put it overboard.”