Maeve Parahus's three-point play pulled the Albertus Magnus girls basketball team back within five points of Pearl River at the end of the third quarter Thursday.
Then the Pirates went on an 8-0 run fueled by their defense, which helped Pearl River pull away for a 68-53 victory at home.
"We couldn't get over the hump," Albertus Magnus Head Coach Pat Buckley said. "Every time we got close, Missy (Scognamiglio) would hit a three. I thought she was great. In the fourth quarter, we melted down defensively. They got a lot of layups."
"At the six or seven minute mark, we saw a spark on our defense," Scognamiglio said. "On our pressure, we started getting a lot of tips and deflections that led to a bunch of quick layups for us. That really helps."
Pearl River (13-2) completed a season sweep of Albertus Magnus (8-7) with the victory.
"It's huge," Pearl River senior guard Amanda DeCourcey said. "They looked like one of our biggest competitors before the season, so to beat them twice shows how we can come together."
That was a big change from the start of the game, when it was Pearl River missing shots and giving up scoring opportunities. Albertus Magnus led by as many as five and took an 11-10 advantage by the end of the first.
"After the first quarter, we said we were rushing too much," Scognamiglio said. "We weren't boxing (out). They were getting transition layups the other way. In the second quarter, we locked down on that."
Scognamiglio played a key role, scoring 11 of her game-high 22 points in the second quarter. She made four three-point shots in the contest and also led the Pirates with nine rebounds.
"In warm-ups, I wasn't shooting well, but in the second half, they were falling for me," Scognamiglio said. "It felt good."
"She was awesome," Pearl River Head Coach Lorraine Moylan said. "She had good energy. She got some good looks. We got her the ball when we needed to get her the ball. She made big shots when we needed her to."
DeCourcey was the only other Pirate in double figures with 12 points, but Jenna Scanlon had nine and Sam Alicandri added eight.
Parahus, a Division I Manhattan recruit, led the Falcons with 21 points, but only three in the fourth quarter. Ryan Doherty, who battled foul trouble much of the game, had 13 points and Madison McGrath added 11. The Falcons stayed close through three quarters on the strength of their offensive balance and Parahus's big plays.
"In the fourth quarter, we played a little better defense," Moylan said. "They are a very good team. They can score. They make you pay for it when you make a mistake. We played a little harder."
Buckley also pointed to Pearl River's willingness to fight for the ball as a key factor.
"They won all the 50-50 balls today," Buckley said.