Tiffany Corselli walked off the court Saturday bloodied, battered, and bruised. But she also walked off with a gold ball and a tournament MVP trophy.
The Sacred Heart transfer scored 29 points, including 16 in the third quarter, to lead top-seeded Hamilton to its second consecutive Section 1 Class C championship with a 50-40 win over No. 2 Haldane.
Corselli and Jasmine Robinson, who had 21 points, combined to score all of Hamilton’s points.
“We knew that we had to do this, and we had to get it done,” said Corselli, who scored 54 points in the two County Center games this week. “Not knocking Haldane, but we kind of knew we could beat them, so we needed to play hard, finish strong, and that’s what we did.”
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While the gold ball in itself was special, being named tournament MVP was an early birthday gift for Corselli, who turns 18 on Sunday.
Before Corselli could take over the second half Saturday, it was fellow senior Robinson who did the bulk of the scoring, dropping 11 of the team’s 16 points at the break.
“Without Maia (Hood), we have to be a dynamic duo,” Robinson said. “Without (Hood), 30 points is quite difficult, so we have to make it up between the two of us.”
Hood was averaging a team-high 22.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game before tearing her ACL against Harrison on Feb. 4.
The Red Raiders trailed 17-16 at the half, prompting coach Benjamin Carter to light a fire under his team.
“We had a slow start; I think my girls were overanxious,” Carter said. “I had to go into the halftime speech with a couple of words they didn’t like, but they bought into it and came out different girls in the second half.”
Carter has led the Red Raiders to the section final in each of his five years at the helm, winning two titles.
Haldane struggled mightily from the floor, especially from 3-point range. The Blue Devils missed more than 20 shots from beyond the arc before sophomore Allie Monteleone connected on a long buzzer-beater at the end of the game.
Monteleone and senior Liz Khadabux led the team with 14 points each.
The teams combined for 37 fouls in what was a gritty, physical game on both ends.
Corselli was bleeding from her lip during her postgame interview, just an addition to the battle scars she earned this season, and this week.
“I get them every game,” she said. “Keio got me (in my eye), now Haldane on my lip — I love this game.”
Hamilton will play Section 9’s Tuxedo . on Wednesday night at 6:30 at Mount St. Mary in Newburgh.