Unlike so many of Ossining’s opponents before, Shenendehowa never went away.
The Lady Plainsmen matched the Pride from the opening quarter until the late going before a handful of plays spelled the difference in Saturday night’s state Class AA championship game at Hudson Valley Community College.
“We did not come in here intimidated,” Shenendehowa coach Joe Murphy said after a 69-66 setback. “They’re the four-time state champions for a reason, but we didn’t back down. I’m very proud of the effort.”
Ossining scored six straight points to break away from a 62-62 tie, and held off the stubborn Plainsmen to close out a classic New York State Public High School Athletic Association large-school final.
Carly Boland scored the last basket of Shenendehowa’s season, a short jumper that made it 68-66 with 58 seconds left. After both teams came up empty, Ossining’s Jaida Strippoli made one of two free throws with 19.4 seconds to go, and Alexandra Tudor missed a three at the other end.
“That three was right on line. An inch short,” Murphy said. “That’s this team. We battled until the end.”
Ossining (Section I, 26-2) will head to next weekend’s Federation tournament with a school record for wins and a 19-game unbeaten streak. The first 18 of those victories came by double digits, and in four of them, the Pride reached 100 points.
“This says a lot about our team,” Boland said after scoring 25 points and making the all-tournament team. “We did our best to weather the storm.”
Shenendehowa (23-3) won eight straight games to get a crack at its fifth state championship, which included a 56-44 regional triumph against then unbeaten Cicero-North Syracuse and Friday’s 68-25 semifinal victory over then-unbeaten Williamsville North.
The Plainsmen rallied late to beat Albany 67-62 for their 12th Section II title, and second in three years, before claiming their 10th regional crown.
“We didn’t come out with a win, but it was exciting to see us go this far,” Boland said. “There’s some satisfaction, but not complete satisfaction.”
Cameron Tooley’s jumper pulled Shenendehowa into a 62-62 tie before Strippoli answered with a 3-pointer with 2:14 left. Shadeen Samuels came up with a steal, drew a foul and sank a free throw but missed the second. Teammate Aubrey Griffin snared the offensive rebound and, after being fouled on the play, dropped in two from the line with 1:42 left.
Shenendehowa got two back on a pair foul shots by Tudow with 1:14 remaining, and Boland connected after Ossining lost the ball out of bounds.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t pull through,” Boland said.
Sydney Brown scored 11 points to help stake Shenendehowa to a 24-19 first-quarter lead, and a 12-5 run to start the second frame gave the Plainsmen their largest advantage at 36-24. Ossining countered with an 11-0 spurt before two baskets by Boland and another by Tooley made it 42-35 at the break.
Shenendehowa was up 46-37 early in the third when Ossining rattled off 12 unanswered points, and teams went back and forth the rest of the way.
“We couldn’t have given our fans more,” Murphy said, before adding. “Maybe the score.”
Shenendehowa won its last New York flag in 1999, and is 0-for-3 since in attempts to add another, with a state semifinal loss to Greece Arcadia in 2004 and a state title-game setback against Sachem East in 2010.
The Shenendehowa boys had their bid for consecutive state Class AA championships halted earlier Saturday with a 55-51 overtime loss to Aquinas in the semifinal round at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
The Seton Hall-bound Samuels paced Ossining with 26 points and earned most valuable player honors. Griffin had 19 points and Kailah Harris netted 12. Brown finished with 13 points.
Ossining did not have to sweat out any of other state title-game wins, topping Gates Chili in 2013 (86-69), Cicero-North Syracuse in 2014 (74-59) and Rush-Henrietta in 2015 (76-54).
Since the state tournament expanded to five classes in 2004, Section II has not claimed a Class AA banner.
Tooley 3-1-8, Brown 5-3-13, Quinn 2-2-7, Sangare 3-0-7, Boland 11-0-25, Tudor 2-2-6. Totals: 26-8-66.
Samuels 9-4-26, Strippoli 2-1-7, Quain 1-2-5, Harris 5-1-12, Griffin 8-3-19. Totals: 25-11-69.
Shenendehowa 24 18 13 11 — 66
Ossining 19 16 19 15 — 69
Three-point goals: Tooley, Quinn, Sangare, Boland 3, Samuela 4, Strippoli 2, Quain, Harris.