That’s like a four-letter word ’round these parts — all over the state when it comes to girls basketball, really — but it is often on the minds and tongues of opposing teams. For years, Ossining has stood as the leviathan of Class AA, refusing to allow teams passage in the postseason and crushing hopes along the way.
And even at the beginning of the season, Our Lady of Lourdes dared say that school name three times. The Warriors predicted then they would meet Ossining in the playoffs, and insisted then they would have no fear of the four-time defending state champion.
Thanks in large part to Maddie Siegrist, Lourdes’ prediction came true on Friday.
She dominated inside and was near infallible on either end, racking up 36 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks to lead the fourth-seeded Warriors in an 87-40 win over visiting Suffern in a Section 1 Class AA quarterfinal.
“We know what our team is capable of and we can’t let anything stand in our way,” said Siegrist. “We’re going all-out and giving our best effort, no matter who the opponent is, and this was the result.”
The junior also scored the 1,000th point of her career on a put-back with five minutes left in the third quarter. The game was paused briefly as she was congratulated by teammates and received a rousing ovation from the home crowd. The fans likely were as gleeful about her milestone as they were about the show they were witnessing.
Elsewhere, as was expected, Ossining smothered New Rochelle in its quarterfinal matchup to advance. The stage is now set: Lourdes will meet top-seeded Ossining on Thursday at the Westchester County Center.
It should be noted that Ossining beat the Warriors, 86-66, in December. But that has done little to diminish their confidence.
“We’ve faced them before and we know what we need to fix,” Siegrist said. “They’re a great team, no question, but they’re not perfect. They’re beatable.”
Against Suffern, Abby Weeks added 14 points, Katie Clarke scored 10 and Olivia Babb had 10 for Lourdes (20-2). Siegrist had 21 points in the first half as 12th-seeded Suffern could offer no answer for the athletic 6-foot-1 center.
Siegrist was well-defended on a drive along the baseline and forced a shot that sailed over the basket. One of her few mistakes. But even on that play, she outhustled two opponents to grab her own miss then capitalized with a reverse layup. That bucket gave Lourdes a 29-12 lead 4:13 before intermission.
Caleigh Calhoun scored 13 points for the Mounties (12-10).
Rebecca Townes’ three pushed the lead to 71-32 with a second left in the third. The point guard had six points, five assists and three steals. Her perimeter defense frustrated Suffern. Weeks and Clarke, with their slick passes inside, set each other up for several layups.
The challenge now, of course, will be attempting to replicate some of that against the juggernaut.
“We’re ready,” Siegrist said. “We’re gonna give them a run for their money.”
Stephen Haynes: email@example.com, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4