Alisa Blalock of St. Mary's works the ball under the...

Alisa Blalock of St. Mary's works the ball under the basket during the NYS CHSAA Class AA girls basketball semifinal playoff game against Cardinal O’Hara in Hicksville on Friday, March 11, 2022. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Friday could have been the final high school basketball game for Alisa Blalock. As the lone senior on the St. Mary’s girls basketball team, she’s the one player that can’t fall back on the ‘There’s always next year’ mindset.

And Blalock was sure to do all she could to bring St. Mary’s to the state final.

Blalock had 15 points and five steals as St. Mary’s defeated Cardinal O’Hara, 57-46, in the girls basketball state CHSAA ‘AA’ semifinals at Holy Trinity High School Friday evening.

St. Mary’s (20-3) plays Monsignor Scanlan, from the Bronx, in the state final at Hofstra Sunday at 4 p.m. Cardinal O’Hara (Buffalo) finishes 20-4.

"I feel like we were ready for this," Blalock said. "We were built for this and this was our moment."

Blalock’s offensive and defensive energy rallied St. Mary’s from an early deficit. Cardinal O’Hara scored 10 of the game’s first 13 points and led, 12-8, after the first quarter. The Gaels ended the first half on a 14-4 run over 6:54 to take a 24-18 lead into halftime. St. Mary’s outscored Cardinal O’Hara, 22-10, in the third quarter.

Blalock had 10 of her 15 points in the second and third quarters.

"They all feed off of her and she’s starting to understand [that]," coach Kevin White said. "When she’s getting after people defensively and running the break, it gives us a whole new dimension. She’s one of the most athletic kids around."

Taryn Barbot scored all 16 of her points in the second and third quarters for St. Mary’s. Cayla Williams added 13 points and Tara Murray had 10 points in the win.

"A lot of people made big shots for us," White said. … "We’re at our best when those guys are [balanced]."

St. Mary’s used another 14-4 run in the third quarter to take a 40-24 advantage with 1:35 remaining in the period and led, 46-28, entering the fourth quarter. The team fed off the energy of many Gaels fans in the Holy Trinity gymnasium.

"It was amazing," Blalock said. "The crowd was going wild and we had great support."

Sunday will be the game St. Mary’s has worked toward all season. White said he isn’t sure when St. Mary’s last won a state title, but this year’s team has been focused all year on becoming that group.

"We are ecstatic," Blalock said. "We are happy we get to play another game and hopefully take it home."

"It’s an honor," White said. "It’s great for our school, great for our community and I’m really proud of them. We’re a school of 350 kids competing against [bigger] schools."

Newsday LogoDON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access