OSSINING – As the final seconds counted down during Tuesday’s rematch against Peekskill, Ossining head coach Dan Ricci marched up the sideline and bellowed to DJ John Girolamo.
“Johnny G!” he yelled, getting the attention of the Pride’s resident musical entertainment. “Eighty.
“Eighty in a row.”
The horn sounded, securing a 103-76 win for Ossining — its 80th consecutive victory against Section 1 opponents. Ossining (17-2) will enjoy five straight calendar years of undefeated play against local foes should it win its season finale at Panas on Thursday.
“I think it means so much, because it’s different kids,” Ricci said of the streak. “Kids come and go, and the program just keeps on winning.”
Ricci said the team was “taking a chance” starting three freshmen — Aubrey Griffin, Kailah Harris and Jaida Strippoli — in a season when “everybody thought, ‘Ossining’s going to be down,’ ” but that the team has thrived, nonetheless.
“For us to win consistently with these young kids out there says a lot about this program,” he added.
The freshmen are thriving for the three-time reigning state champs.
Harris posted team highs of 33 points and 16 rebounds in her return to the court after missing two games with a concussion. The 5-foot-11 forward said she felt responsible to step up with Griffin and senior Shadeen Samuels — the team’s top two scorers — in early foul trouble.
“It felt good to be back and be part of everything again,” said Harris, who was injured taking a charge against Lakeland. “I was very anxious. I felt good three days, four days after the concussion, but obviously I had to go through the protocol.”
Strippoli, the younger sister of all-section alumna and current NYIT freshman Madison, finished with 12 points, 15 assists and five steals after struggling in the first half.
Peekskill’s all-state senior forward, Lanay Rodney, finished with a game-high 36 points, lighting the Pride up for 24 first-half points against their developing zone defense.
“We put a lot of time into that zone,” Ricci said. “We played it the last two games, getting ready for (Peekskill). We thought it would work, but she just shot really well.”
Rodney is averaging 28.2 points per game in her last four contests against the Pride.
Seton Hall head coach Tony Bozzella and assistant coach Lauren DeFalco were among the packed crowd in attendance Tuesday.
The Pirates already signed Samuels, who finished with 29 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, and have offers out to both Griffin and Harris.