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Paris Hodges propels Southampton to OT win and Suffolk ABCD title

Southampton's Paris Hodges drives the ball against Harborfields

Southampton's Paris Hodges drives the ball against Harborfields in the Class ABCD Small Schools girls basketball final. (Feb. 27, 2013) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Going into Wednesday's Suffolk ABCD championship, Southampton found itself as the underdog to Harborfields despite the Mariners being the defending small school champions.

"Nobody had us winning this game, except for us," senior captain Kesi Goree said. "We used that to drive us to come out and get a win."

That motivation paid off, as Southampton (15-3) earned a 43-40 comeback victory in overtime at Northport High School for its second straight title.

"I give all the credit to the girls," Southampton coach Rich Wingfield said. "Their maturity really paid off. The fact that they were able to stay poised down the stretch was the reason why we were able to get the win."

Paris Hodges scored 20 points and Goree added eight points and 11 rebounds.

Kristen Kelly led Harborfields with 14 points and Bridgit Ryan added 11.

With the score tied at 40 in overtime, Noel Hodges hit a driving layup to give Southampton a 42-40 lead with a little more than :30 left.

Paris Hodges hit a free throw with 14.6 seconds left to cap the scoring. Harborfields was unable to get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

Down eight after the third quarter, the Mariners started to mount their comeback late in the fourth.

"The girls have this maturity that they know as long as they continue to play good defense, they would be able to get back into the game," Wingfield said.

Paris Hodges made a layup off a pass from Goree, and Noel Hodges followed with a steal and layup to tie the score at 33. But Ryan went to her patented spin move to give Harborfields the lead with 2:15 left.

Toni Deren's shot extended the lead to four. But Paris Hodges got open in the right corner for her third three-pointer to bring the Mariners within one with under a minute left. She then came up with a steal at midcourt and took it all the way for a layup to give Southampton its first lead since it was 5-4. Amy Werbitsky hit one of two free throws to force overtime.

Southampton will face Class AA champion Sachem East in the overall county championship Friday at Ward Melville High School at 5 p.m.

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