Nora Basile of South Side celebrates her OT goal in...

Nora Basile of South Side celebrates her OT goal in the Nassau Class AA girls soccer final on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. Credit: Neil Miller

Nora Basile reminded herself of a coach saying to picture a penalty kick as making a pass into open space. But when the coach made that declaration, that kick wasn’t going to define a county championship.

Yet, the South Side senior did her best to remain composed in overtime of a scoreless final as she lined up for a penalty kick.

“My mind sort of froze,” Basile said. “I just heard my coach in the background say ‘believe in yourself’ and in that moment, I knew I had the ability to make it.”

Basile did just that, perfectly placing a penalty kick into the lower left corner of the goal to give second-seeded South Side a 1-0 overtime victory over top-seeded Garden City in the girls soccer Nassau Class AA championship at Cold Spring Harbor High School on Wednesday night.

Basile said she tried to forget about the fact that her foot had the potential to determine the county champion. When she lined up 1:25 into the first overtime period, she remained focused.

“I just didn’t think of it as that,” Basile said with a laugh. “I just thought of it as a normal kick, nothing to it because I didn’t want to freak myself out.”

South Side (10-3-5) advances to play Smithtown West (14-2-1) in the Long Island Class AA championship/Southeast Regional Final at Shoreham-Wading River High School on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Garden City finished at 10-5-4.

But the game-altering play didn’t come without controversy. After the goal, Garden City protested the foul — and whether it was committed inside the 18-yard box, which set up the overtime penalty kick. The Section VIII girls soccer protest committee discussed it on the field in real-time as both teams and the officials stood by without any celebrations or postgame handshakes. After a few minutes, the committee stuck with the official’s ruling.

“[Garden City] protested a judgment call and you can’t really protest a judgment call, so we just discussed as the protest committee and we ruled in the favor of what the rules are,” said Mike Bongino, the girls soccer coordinator in Section VIII, the governing body for high school sports in Nassau County. “The official made a call and that was the ruling.”

The result was South Side celebrating its 30th county title in program history and first since 2021.

“Just being able to add to the history is great,” said Morgan Harloff, a senior defender.

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