TROY – There were too many things that the Ossining girls basketball team did well for an opponent to expect a total shutdown.
The Gates Chili coaches had a choice, maybe somewhere along the lines of a rock, a hard place and mission impossible during Friday night’s state Class AA tournament semifinal.
“We had to give up something,” Spartans coach Tara Graziadei said. “They shoot 3s well, they transition well (from defense to offense) and they have Knowles.”
Ossining’s Jalay Knowles, a 6-foot junior, finished with 13 points and Gates Chili somewhat stalled the Pride’s transition game, but accurate 3-point shooting pushed the defending state champions past the Spartans, 69-62 on Friday night.
The Pride (23-2), who lost 10 seniors from last season’s team to graduation, connected on 9 of their 18 3-point attempts at Hudson Valley Community College.
Ossining junior Jenna Lividini, a reserve, was 5-for-6 from 3-point range and finished with a team-high 19 points. Lividi was among four members of the Pride with at least one 3-pointer.
“We wanted to take away their transition game, which I think we did a pretty good job of,” Graziadei said. “Unfortunately, one of the kids hit a lot – not that it was a deal-breaker, but it kept them in the game.”
Gates Chili was on a 9-2 spurt that gave the lead back to the Spartans, when Ossinging’s Alicia Sanchez delivered a 3-pointer late in the third. A jump shot by Ariana Rutledge moved Gates Chili to a 55-53 lead with 4:27 remaining, but Stefanie Svoboda connected from 3-point range to put the Pride ahead to stay.
Cierra Dillard scored 24 points for Gates Chili (17-6) and was named to the all-tournament team. A University of Massachussetts recruit, Dillard finished her career with 2,165 points, 10th all-time in Section V.
“The last four minutes we pushed really hard,” Dillard said. “I’m excited about the start of my college career, but I’m going to miss my team, miss Gates Chili.
“High school basketball is amazing, it’s fun. I’m really proud of my team and proud of my career.”