Alexis Smith tried to keep the ice pack away from her left eye while speaking, but her arm kept bringing it up. The eye was red and couldn't stay open after the game Sunday.
Smith, a junior guard, took an elbow to her eye late in the first half and left the game. She returned for the second half and scored 14 of her 19 points for No. 2 St. John the Baptist in a 47-39 win over No. 3 St. Anthony's in an NSCHSAA semifinal at C.W. Post. St. John the Baptist (15-10) will play No. 1 Kellenberg in the final at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hofstra.
Smith scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead basket with 3:22 left to give the Cougars a 38-37 lead. Smith then fed Brianna Thomas for a score with 2:44 left to make it 40-37. Smith went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 24 seconds to ice the game - before doing the same to her eye.
"It affected me," Smith said, "but I had to dig deep and do it for my team. I just had to go out there and play through it."
Christine Bosco, who scored 11 points for SJB, knew it wouldn't deter Smith. "She's tough," Bosco said. "She would run through a brick wall. I knew she was going to play."
Bosco also played a key role. She scored nine first-half points. After Rebecca Musgrove scored for St. Anthony's (20-6) to cut it to 40-39, Bosco hit a jumper with 1:04 left to extend the Cougars' lead to 42-39.
"We all have our roles on this team," Bosco said. "Everyone complements each other well. It comes down to knowing each other's strengths and we're good at that."
Symone Kelly gave St. Anthony's a 37-36 lead with 4:24 left in the game, but she missed most of the second half after picking up her fourth foul with 5:55 left in the third quarter. Mimi Lizza's 11 points led the Friars.
Kellenberg beats St. Mary's. Khadijah Donaldson started it and Emma O'Connor finished it. Donaldson had 16 of her 18 points in the first half and O'Connor had 15 of her 20 points after halftime for No. 1 Kellenberg in a 61-51 win over No. 4 St. Mary's in the other semifinal. Meghan Leap added 12 points.
O'Connor shot 8-for-11 from the field, including 6-for-7 in the second half. She had 14 rebounds and six assists. Kellenberg (16-6) led 33-31 at the half and O'Connor opened the third quarter with nine consecutive points to give the Firebirds a 42-31 lead. Of Kellenberg's 17 points in the third quarter, O'Connor played a part in 15.
"The first half was tough," O'Connor said. "I knew I would have to step up. It was only a two-point game. Khadijah kept us in the game in the first half."
O'Connor spent Friday and Saturday in bed with a bad cold that caused a lot of coughing and chest pains and she still felt ill yesterday.
Shannon Flynn's 31 points led St. Mary's (16-8). She scored 16 of the Gaels' 20 second-half points.