Take a regular layup!
That's what Sarah Pisani's coach shouted to her multiple times Monday night after she adjusted midflight on a layup attempt, increasing the degree of difficulty.
"Sometimes I get scared of the big girls," Pisani said, "because I'm a little short."
So the next time the 5-2 point guard drove the lane, she went up strong, braced for impact and . . . helped Carle Place win a championship.
Pisani's "regular layup" with 21.4 seconds remaining helped seal the Frogs' 36-32 win over Hampton Bays in the Long Island Class B championship game at LIU Post. Pisani had 12 points and five assists while guiding Carle Place to its first Long Island girls basketball championship since 1992.
"To finally win a county championship, and now a Long Island championship, I couldn't ask for anything more," said Pisani, the lone senior on the team.
Carle Place entered the fourth quarter trailing by eight, but Pisani and Elissa Frein hit three-pointers to pull the Frogs within 28-26. Abigail Selhorn grabbed a loose ball in the paint and converted a layup to tie the score at 28 with 5:55 left.
After Brianna McKeough hit the front end of a one-and-one to tie the score at 29, Kacey Burden hit a jumper with 3:28 left to give the Frogs their first lead of the game at 31-29.
With her team nursing a three-point lead, Pisani beat her defender off the dribble, and with the defense collapsing on her, she went straight up and converted a finger roll to make it 34-29. She hit one of two free throws with 3.3 seconds remaining to make it 36-32 and seal the win.
Burden had 10 points and eight rebounds and Frein added seven points for Carle Place (14-6), which will play in the Southeast Regional championship game at 6 p.m. Friday at Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh.
"We knew we had to pick it up and play our game," Burden said. "We wanted to make history and we did. So we are going to keep going."
Alexis Fotopoulos led Hampton Bays (19-4) with 15 points. Hannah Reed scored all 14 of her points in the first half, including four three-pointers. But Pisani switched on to Reed defensively in the second half and contained her by using ball denial to prevent her dangerous catch-and-shoot.
"I would take her over any point guard in Nassau County," Carle Place coach Michael Bello said of Pisani. "I know there are better ones, but with her heart and the way she plays, that's all you need."
As for the next time she drives the lane?
"From now on," Pisani said, "I'm going up for regular layups."