St. Anthony's Maia Moffitt ,left, and Long Island Lutheran's Sarah...

St. Anthony's Maia Moffitt ,left, and Long Island Lutheran's Sarah Mortensen ,right, battle for a rebound during the New York State Federation Tournament of Champions girls' Class AA high school basketball semi-final on Friday, March 18, 2016, in Albany, N.Y. Credit: Hans Pennink

ALBANY — In her soft Danish accent, but with the hardness of a seasoned competitor, Long Island Lutheran senior star Sarah Mortensen described her mindset in the frenetic final seconds, as St. Anthony’s drove for a potential game-winning basket.

“They cannot score,” Mortensen said. “I must stop them.”

And so she did. Mortensen ran stride for stride with Sarah Edmond as the final seconds ticked away. There was some incidental contact as Edmond’s hurried layup attempt was off target. St. Anthony’s wanted to hear a whistle. Lutheran was ecstatic to hear the buzzer.

“It was fair,” Mortensen said of the no-call. “She had an opportunity to score. I felt so good when I looked up and the ball didn’t go in.”

Lutheran survived a defensive tussle filled with hustle, 41-40, Friday in a girls Federation Class AA semifinal that matched Long Island’s premier teams. The Lady Crusaders (19-5) will try to win their third consecutive Class AA title against Ossining on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Friars finished 24-4.

Mortensen scored 13 points, including two free throws with 1:08 left that put LuHi ahead 41-37 and proved to be the winning points after Taylor Goode drained her third three-pointer with 36.9 seconds left to make it a one-point game.

Lutheran was determined to run clock and try to set up Mortensen for a clinching basket. But she was double-teamed while dribbling, passed it to Grace Stone (13 points), who also could not find a path to the basket. Stone handed it to Celeste Taylor, whose rushed shot missed with six seconds left.

Edmond wound up with the ball and dribbled coast to coast, with Mortensen dogging her and eventually preventing an uncontested layup. “Sarah is my Larry Bird,” LuHi coach Rich Slater said of his multi-dimensional star. “She does everything. We’re not here without her.”

Mortensen contributed a trey from the corner that beat the halftime buzzer and sent the teams into their locker rooms tied at 21. LuHi had trailed for the entire first half. “It was a good feeling,” Mortensen said. “We went in thinking, ‘It’s a new game. Let’s get this.’ “

What they got was more of the same. Gritty defense on both sides and few easy baskets. Jayla Jones-Pack, the Friars’ 6-4 center, scored 13 points, but St. Anthony’s distinct height advantage across the board took a hit when junior guard Maia Moffitt, at 5-9 taller than most of the Lutheran starters, injured her right leg with 1:40 left in the third quarter and never returned.

Lutheran capitalized by outrebounding the Friars 29-24. “We had to make sure we boxed out and we had to face-guard Jones-Pack,” said senior forward Jenna Siletti, who scored five points and made a critical contribution in the fourth quarter when she blocked a shot and then hustled downcourt for a layup that provided a 38-34 lead.

Of St. Anthony’s final shot, Siletti said, “I didn’t even realize how much time was left. It was the craziest moment when I saw Sarah there. It was like the whole thing happened in slow motion.”