The Maine-Endwell girls basketball team outplayed Peekskill from start to finish and rolled to a 62-47 victory in Saturday’s Class A state quarterfinal at New Rochelle High School.
Senior forward Julie Yacovoni repeatedly got inside and led Maine-Endwell with 24 points as the Spartans advanced to Friday’s 1:30 p.m. semifinal matchup with Pittsford-Sutherland at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.
Peekskill head coach Rodney Headley Jr. did not lead the Red Devils on the sideline after he was suspended by school administrators for an unspecified reason.
The coach’s father and assistant coach, Rodney Headley Sr., made it clear he thought it played a role in M-E’s victory.
“That is one of the reasons. They didn’t show up as well as they usually do,” he said. “You lose your coach, it’s not easy — especially in a playoff game. It was emasculating to the team — devastating to them.”
Headley said he couldn’t speculate about the suspension.
Athletic director Lou Panzanaro didn’t reveal the reason for Headley Jr.’s suspension but said, “I didn’t sit him down.”
Peekskill led 2-0 on an Aubrey Dabbs (two points) bucket and 4-2 on an inside baseline shot by Latisha Clark early in the first quarter.
That was its last lead.
M-E led 17-6 by the end of the quarter and surged to a 35-22 halftime lead.
“They’re such an aggressive, trapping team that if you can get past that you can get some opportunities,” Maine-Endwell coach Sonny Spera said.
Daniella Dean was also a huge thorn for Peekskill. She had 18 points and multiple steals.
“I think we were really patient on offense. We used ball fakes and hesitation dribbles and kept our spacing,” said Yacovoni, whose squad fell in the state final to Troy last year.
When 6-foot sophomore Taylor Clare (two points) grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, Peekskill cut the Spartans’ lead to 41-32 midway through the third quarter.
But two straight steals by Dean, who scored on both and added a foul shot on the first, expanded the Spartans’ lead to 46-32 late in the quarter.
“Basically, we really weren’t on our defensive game,” Clark said. “They kept slipping past us and we couldn’t get it back.”
Clark and sophomore Lanay Rodney each had 11 points for Peekskill. Sophomore Lisana Burnett added nine.