Rebecca Townes doesn’t need a crystal ball or tarot cards to make, what she believes, are psychic predictions. She proclaims to know what’s in store for herself and the Our Lady of Lourdes High School girls basketball team come March.
“We’re going to be at the Section (1 Class AA) championship,” the junior insisted. “We’re going to be playing Ossining. And we’re going to give them a run for their money, because this is our year and we’re going to get that gold ball.”
That gold ball would be the championship trophy, not a magic 8-ball.
The Warriors have reason to be confident, having secured their fifth straight win with an 86-31 defeat of rival Beacon on Tuesday. That victory improved the Warriors’ record to 11-2. Lourdes also is the team that handed surging Roy C. Ketcham its only loss this season. The Warriors have only lost to Albertus Magnus and the team Townes foresees them meeting in the section final.
Three of the previous four years, Ossining ended Lourdes’ season. In each of those four years, Ossining went on to win the state Class AA title. Last year, the Pride eliminated Lourdes in the quarterfinal round, and beat them in the final in 2012 and 2013. The Warriors were ousted by Mahopac in the semifinals in 2014.
But with more experience — and some bad memories as motivation — the Warriors believe they are poised to make a run. And Lourdes has plenty of confidence, should it once again stand toe-to-toe with the Pride for the section championship.
“We definitely learned you have to keep scoring with them and keep up with that tempo,” junior Maddie Siegrist said of facing Ossining. “If you slow down for a second or lose your breath, they’ll go on a 20-point run in five minutes. It’s crazy.”
Like Townes, however, Siegrist doesn’t believe that challenge to be insurmountable. She, too, envisions her team reaching the section final and this time, perhaps, winning.
“I can see ourselves there,” she said, “and hopefully holding the gold ball at the end.”
Ossining beat Lourdes 86-66 in Poughkeepsie on Dec. 11 and the Pride’s top scorer, senior Andra Espinoza-Hunter, scored 51 points in the game.
“She’s their go-to girl,” said Townes, a point guard. “Now we know how she plays, and their sets and what we can do on defense.”
The game was close at halftime — 48-41 in favor of Ossining. The Pride’s lead ballooned in the third quarter, however, when Ossining went on a 21-12 run to pull away.
Despite a 20-point win for his team, Ossining coach Dan Ricci insisted Lourdes shouldn’t be underestimated, and their skill is undeniable.
“They’re one of five, six teams that could win this year,” Ricci said. “They’re a team that’s got good experience.”
And in order to beat Ossining, Lourdes coach Al Viani said his team will have to produce a lot of offense. Ossining averages over 83 points per game and scored a season-high 108 against Scarsdale on Dec. 7.
“Ossining is obviously the state juggernaut, but we’ve got to be able to score with them,” Viani said. “We played them tough in the first half, in the second half our scoring went down. You’ve got to score points because they’re going to put points on the board.”
A.J. Martelli: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports