Highlights from Portledge's 44-36 victory over Stony Brook in the PSAA girls basketball final on Thursday Feb. 13 at Portledge High School. Credit: Newsday / Michael Ruiz

From the outset of the season, the notion of completing a three-peat was at the forefront for Portledge. Thursday night, it finally came to fruition.

“It was all we talked about all season,” said Bella Greenwald, who scored 16 points and was named the postseason MVP as Portledge defeated Stony Brook in the PSAA girls basketball final, 44-36, and secured the Panthers’ third consecutive league title. “We’re super excited. All we talked about was winning three years in a row.”

Portledge (12-6) also finished undefeated for the first time in program history against league competition at 12-0, according to first-year coach Jay Lynch. Sarah Buonaguro led the way with 18 points.

It was a rematch of last year's PSAA final.

Lynch credited the leadership qualities of both Greenwald and Buonaguro throughout the season.

“They are dedicated and have no selfish bones in their bodies,” Lynch said. “They get all their teammates involved and you won’t find two better competitors.”

Buonaguro drained a deep three-pointer from the top of the arc with about a second remaining in the third quarter to extend Portledge’s lead to 36-23 entering the final period. The Panthers then held strong and maintained their double-digit lead until surrendering the last basket of the game with 17 seconds left.

“We just wanted to keep pushing and not get our heads down when they came up shooting well,” Buonaguro said. “So we had to play better defense and we stepped up.”

After losing their top scoring threat from last season, Remi Sisselman, who transferred to Half Hollow Hills East this year and has averaged 22.7 points per game, the Panthers understood that considerable growth would be required in order to repeat as champions once again.

“Not having Remi this year was a step down, but we all stepped up individually and really contributed to win this season,” Buonaguro said. “I’m really happy about that.”

Portledge led 21-12 at the break after the Bears ended the half with a 6-0 run, capped off by Wuraola Obasanjo’s layup with 2:23 to go. Pushing the pace in the early going, the Panthers outscored Stony Brook 14-2 in the first quarter en route to a wire-to-wire victory.

Lynch believes the Panthers are well-prepared to make a run at the state title as they now look ahead to the beginning the New York State Association of Independent Schools state tournament next week.

“Undefeated champs, that means we’ve dealt with adversity every game,” Lynch said. “Being undefeated says a lot about Sarah, Bella and the rest of them.”


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