Port Jefferson guard Lola Idir turns a steal into two...

Port Jefferson guard Lola Idir turns a steal into two of her 23 points against Smithtown Christian in the Suffolk CD final on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. Credit: George A Faella

Lola Idir is used to playing in championship environments. It’s exactly what she looks forward to from the first practice. And she wasted little time reminding everyone of that fact.

The Port Jefferson senior scored her team’s first 13 points and 13 of the game’s opening 16 points as Port Jefferson defeated Smithtown Christian, 60-27, in the Suffolk Class CD girls basketball final at Centereach on Tuesday afternoon.

“I made my first couple (shots) and I just had the green light from there,” Idir said. “I give more credit to my teammates, they got me open shots so they basically got me in the zone.”

Idir, a five-year varsity player, scored 20 of her 23 points in the first half as Port Jefferson took a 33-13 lead at halftime.

“The way Lola goes about a playoff atmosphere is like someone who has been here since she was 13 years old and the reality is, Lola’s been here since she’s been 13 years old,” said Jesse Rosen, who co-coaches the Royals with Keith Buehler. “She plays in a game like this the same way she shoots around in the gym with a relaxed intensity and that’s second-to-none for a high school athlete.”

Maitreya Driscoll-Stremich added 13 points and Amy Whitman had 10 points for Port Jefferson. Abbey Loiacono, who has more than 1,700 points, scored 16 for Smithtown Christian (9-11).

Port Jefferson (17-2) advances to play Center Moriches in the Suffolk Class BCD final at Center Moriches at noon on Saturday. Both teams continue on to the state tournament.

Smithtown Christian, the Class D champion, plays the Section IX champion at S.S. Seward Institute (Florida, N.Y.) in a Southeast subregional at 5 p.m. on March 7.

The Royals, the Class C champions, play the winner of the Section I/Section IX regional in the Southeast Regional Final on a date and time to be determined. Port Jefferson lost to Carle Place in the Long Island Class C final the last two seasons the state tournament was held, but Carle Place moved to Class B this winter.

“I haven’t gone upstate yet so it would mean everything to me,” Idir said. “We’ve lost to two really good Carle Place teams so we want this season to end upstate or we are going to be really disappointed.”

Port Jefferson hasn’t won a state title in program history but the Royals are very happy about their play as of late. The team hopes to make history this winter.

“The conversation from the second week in November is we are looking to go upstate,” Rosen said. “It’s a long season, it touches three vacations. It touches Thanksgiving, Christmas and February break and if you do things the right way, it’s an overlap with the spring season.”

“It’s my last time playing in this jersey,” Idir said, “so we are trying to make the most of it.”

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