WHITE PLAINS – Most teams that win a Section 1 basketball championship — and the elusive gold ball that comes with it — are usually screaming and cheering with joy at the final buzzer. Some teams rush the court to join their teammates.
The top-seeded Haldane bench simply clapped for their teammates following a 60-38 win over No. 2 Hamilton at the County Center on Saturday.
Saturday’s Section 1 Class C final was merely a pit stop for the Blue Devils — a mandatory stop on their road back to Hudson Valley Community College and the NYSPHSAA championships. A state semifinalist last year, coach Tyrone Searight and his returning players have unfinished business in Troy.
“We want to win this gold ball, but our main focus is to get back to Troy and try to accomplish something we didn’t succeed in,” said Searight, who is in his seventh year with Haldane. “Yes, the gold ball is real important to us, but the main focus is to win that state title.”
Haldane’s win gives the Blue Devils their eighth gold ball in 12 years.
With the sectional-championship win, the Blue Devils are now two wins away from returning to the state semifinals. Haldane (12-7) will play the Section 9 representative in the state regional semifinals at Mount St. Mary’s College in Newburgh at a date and time to be determined.
Senior Allie Monteleone took home MVP honors for the second consecutive year, scoring 15 points in her County Center finale. Monteleone, the only senior for either team, will play locally at Pace next season with current Ossining senior Stefanie Svoboda.
“Our team was very set on winning this game,” said Monteleone, whose hands were full with the gold ball and her MVP award before placing them on a nearby chair. “I’m very excited for the next level … but I want to savor the last few games of high school.”
Blue Devils sophomore Missy Lisikatos scored a game-high 18 points before grabbing all-tournament honors. The younger sister of 2014 alum Samantha, an all-tournament selection at states, Lisikatos said that there is no sibling rivalry in the family.
“I try to compete with Samantha, not against her,” Lisikatos said of her sister, who was in attendance for the win. “She did set a bar for me to follow, but … I’m just trying to play to her expectations.”
Nina Gill was named to the all-tournament team for Hamilton (10-9) after scoring a team-high 11 points.