With a shot-clock violation just a few seconds away, Gabby Sartori showed no urgency. She smirked in the direction of the Mount Sinai bench, knowing what was coming.
Yes, technically it was a turnover with 1.3 seconds left, but Sartori and the Mustangs had killed 30 seconds off the clock to halt any chances of a Hauppauge comeback.
Sartori had 21 points and eight rebounds as No. 5 Mount Sinai upset No. 1 Hauppauge, 56-43, in a Suffolk Class A semifinal on Saturday afternoon. It was a rematch of last year’s girls basketball county final in which No. 6 Hauppauge defeated top-seeded Mount Sinai, 51-40.
“I was getting flashbacks to counties and it was stressful, but we came together and it felt amazing,” said senior Brooke Cergol, who scored six of her 13 points in a huge third quarter for the Mustangs.
Holding a 23-21 halftime lead, Sinai surged in the first minute of the third quarter. Cergol made a layup, Casey Campo hit a three-pointer and Sartori drove and scored off the glass, prompting a Hauppauge timeout facing a 30-21 deficit.
Mount Sinai (19-3) posted another big run in the period, as an 8-0 burst gave the Mustangs a 43-27 lead. They went into the fourth quarter ahead 47-33 after Margaret Kopceinski made a reverse layup at the buzzer.
Sartori scored seven points in the third quarter after coach Jeff Koutsantanou got creative with her minutes. She received two personal fouls in the first quarter, and Koutsantanou subbed her in when on offense and out when on defense for much of the rest of the half.
“We tried to take her out of the middle where she’d be less involved with contact, and she did a great job,” said Koutsantanou, who often called on Molly Laforge in defensive situations.
Sartori only picked up one personal foul the rest of the game and was crucial in getting teammates like Holly McNair (12 points) involved.
“I’ve been playing with her since we were in fourth grade,” McNair said. “If she drives to the basket, I know exactly where the open spot is going to be.”
Sartori said she knew how to manage her fouls.
“I just think it’s years of experience,” Sartori said. “Anything to come back in the game and play my best, I’m going to do it.”
Westhampton upsets Eastport-South Manor in other ‘A’ semi
Olivia Rongo had 11 points and her sister, Lindsay, had 10 points as No. 6 Westhampton upset No. 2 Eastport-South Manor, 33-25, in the other Suffolk Class A semifinal on Saturday.
Westhampton led 12-9 at halftime of a defensive struggle, but an 8-3 third quarter gave the Hurricanes a 20-12 lead entering the fourth. Belle Smith hit two free throws for a 30-25 lead with 36 seconds left. The junior had eight points, 10 rebounds and five steals.
“Our key thing was really our defense,” coach Katie Peters said. “We know the type of defense ESM plays; they’re holding teams under 30 every game. We knew we had to match them on the defensive end.”