Officially, the No. 5 seed played at No. 4.
But Thursday’s Class AA quarterfinal girls basketball game between host Horace Greeley and Ursuline sometimes seemed like a back-and-forth battle between top seeds.
Ultimately, the host Quakers, behind a smothering fourth-quarter defense and some costly Ursuline turnovers, prevailed 60-51.
Greeley will next play No. 1-seeded Ossining next Thursday in the sectional semifinals at the County Center.
It will mark the Quakers’ first trip to the semis in a decade.
Greeley was led by Hamilton College-bound Sam Srinivasan, who had 17 points, and sophomore Lauren Brown, who had 16.
Srinivasan, who crashed hard to the floor multiple times, was a force inside, while Brown not only had some pretty pull-up jumpers and end-to-end baskets but three blocks — two coming late in the fourth quarter, helping Greeley take control.
Anna Savino led Ursuline with 18 points, all coming in the first three quarters.
“We just kind of lost it in the end. We weren’t playing our normal game. We just looked tired,” Savino said.
Ursuline fell behind by as many as 10 points in the first quarter.
But after Brown grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, Rianna Peduzzi’s long two-pointer and Korina Guerra’s foul shot knotted the game at 34-34 at the half. Peduzzi would finish with six points and Guerra eight.
A see-saw third quarter saw Srinivasan hit two foul shots after the buzzer to give Greeley a 45-43 advantage entering the fourth.
Greeley threatened to pull away early and had an eight-point lead with four minutes left but a steal by Ursuline and a bucket by junior Lindsay Bettke (13 points) pulled Ursuline to within two at 53-51 with 2:02 left.
But a Tori Ganzi (eight points) 3-pointer, sandwiched between two Brown blocks, gave Greeley all the breathing room it needed.
“We were playing not to lose, rather than to win,” lamented Ursuline coach Beth Wooters, whose squad finished 13-7.
Greeley coach John Alkalay, though, credited his defense.
“Shutting a good team down at crunch time is huge. They all stepped up,” he said.