Ossining rolls into fourth straight 'AA' state final

Ossining rolls into fourth straight 'AA' state final

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Ossining rolls into fourth straight 'AA' state final

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Ossining's Shadeen Samuels led all scorers with 32 points as Ossining defeated Cormack 72-55 in a New York State Class AA semifinal game at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy March 11, 2016.

Ossining’s Shadeen Samuels led all scorers with 32 points as Ossining defeated Cormack 72-55 in a New York State Class AA semifinal game at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy March 11, 2016.

Commack's Casey Hearns runs into Ossining's Shadeen Samuels during a New York State Class AA semifinal game at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy March 11, 2016. Samuels led all scorers with 32 points as Ossining defeated Cormack 72-55.

Commack’s Casey Hearns runs into Ossining’s Shadeen Samuels during a New York State Class AA semifinal game at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy March 11, 2016. Samuels led all scorers with 32 points as Ossining defeated Cormack 72-55.

Ossining coach Dan Ricci gets a technical foul during a New York State Class AA semifinal game at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy March 11, 2016. Ossining defeated Cormack 72-55.

Ossining coach Dan Ricci gets a technical foul during a New York State Class AA semifinal game at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy March 11, 2016. Ossining defeated Cormack 72-55.

TROY – Ossining’s girls basketball team has established several reputations across the state and even in parts of the country: The Pride are fast, deep, rich in talent of all ages, capable of breaking records any given game, and one of the few teams that debunks the “Defense wins championships” adage with its high-powered offense.

Ossining entered Friday night’s Class AA state semifinal tilt against a Commack team that has allowed its opponents to score just 38.7 points per contest throughout the season. It took the Pride less than a half to top that mark. When all was said and done, they nearly doubled it.

The Pride rolled through the Cougars, 72-55, and into their fourth consecutive state final behind a headlining performance from Seton Hall-bound senior Shadeen Samuels at Hudson Valley Community College.

Ossining, which has won the last three Class AA state crowns, would be the first team to win four in a row with a victory over Shenendehowa in Saturday’s final at 8:45 p.m.

Samuels scored a team-high 32 points to pace the Pride, while freshman Aubrey Griffin added 17 points.

Ossining's Shadeen Samuels led all scorers with 32 points as Ossining defeated Commack 72-55 in a Class AA state semifinal at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy on Friday.

Ossining’s Shadeen Samuels led all scorers with 32 points as Ossining defeated Commack 72-55 in a Class AA state semifinal at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy on Friday.

More than a dozen college coaches — most of whom were from Division I programs — were in attendance through the first half, a common site for Ossining games at state championships over the last five years.

Ossining sent four players to college programs last season, including reigning Journal News Westchester/Putnam player of the year and current Hartford freshman Jalay Knowles.

Samuels, who has already signed her National Letter of Intent, will be the third Division I product to come out of the Pride since reaching their first of five consecutive trips to Troy in 2012. Griffin and fellow freshman Kailah Harris, who are both also offered from Seton Hall, will add to the trend in 2020.

While the margin of victory may not support the statement, the Pride have been in a “funk,” according to Pride head coach Dan Ricci. Friday night’s breakout performance could be a sign that things have turned around for Ossining. The Pride improved to 25-2 with the win, tying the program record set in 2014, when it did not boast a single senior on the roster.

Twitter: @Zacchio_LoHud, @LoHudGirlsHoops

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