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St. Anthony's falls to Ossining in state Federation Class AA semifinals

St. Anthony's Tyla Parham steals the ball from

St. Anthony's Tyla Parham steals the ball from Ossining's Madison Strippoli during the girls Class AA Federation Tournament semifinal in Albany on Friday, March 21, 2014. Credit: Hans Pennink

ALBANY - There wasn't much to be said Friday night that could sugarcoat it; no consolatory words to ease the pain of a season that had ended in such heartbreaking fashion.

For St. Anthony's girls basketball team, the "what if" scenarios will replay in their minds and that, perhaps, will be the most difficult aspect of its recovery.

"Well," Friars coach Ken Parham said, "maybe in three weeks." His estimate on the time it might take for his team to overcome this loss, and not allow it to stain the memory of a hallmark season. And they eventually will.

But the Friars' remarkable run ended as Ossining rallied from down 18 in the third quarter and upset St. Anthony's, 85-79, in overtime of the state Federation Class AA semifinals at the Times Union Center.

"I could've done more to help this team," senior Chastity Taylor said after the game. "I should've done more."

There wasn't much more Taylor could have done. The Delaware-bound forward had 26 points, seven rebounds and three steals to lead St. Anthony's (25-6). She hit a three to put them up 71-67 late in regulation, and her layup gave the Friars a brief 74-73 lead in overtime.

But it wasn't to be as Ossining answered each big St. Anthony's basket. Alexis Berbardo (22 points) put the Pride ahead for good at 78-77 on a putback with 1:31 to go in overtime. Her sixth three-pointer, from the right corner, extended the lead to four with 38 seconds left and Ossining held on with free throws.

Shadeen Samuels had 29 points and 13 rebounds for the Pride (25-2), which captured a second straight state Class AA title last week.

"They got momentum and we started going back on our heels a little bit," Parham said. "We had chances, but we didn't capitalize."

Charise Wilson had 20 points, six rebounds and four assists for St. Anthony's, which earned this trip up north by capturing its first state CHSAA title. Allyson Murphy had 11 points and three steals, and Coulter Bowlen 11 rebounds.

"We did accomplish a lot this year," said Taylor, one of the Friars' five seniors, "but it hurts when it ends like this."

The Friars dominated early, starting the game with an 18-4 run, and Maia Moffitt's free throws had them up 58-40 with 2:26 remaining in the third.

Ossining roared back with a 23-9 fourth quarter, utilizing a press and double teams. Madison Strippoli's free throws tied it at 71 for Ossining with 37 seconds left in regulation.

"We did something we've never done before, getting this far," said Murphy, a sophomore. "There are lots of positives from this season."

And one day, soon, the Friars will remember that. Maybe in three weeks.

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