Pearl River started slow, but picked up the tempo in the second quarter and ran past Hendrick Hudson for a 56-34 victory in a Section 1 Class A girls basketball quarterfinal game Tuesday at home.
"The first quarter was definitely rocky," Pearl River senior Missy Scognamiglio said. "We hoped to come out to a stronger start. But in the second quarter, we got layup after layup. We were doing really well on defense, which fed right into our offense. That’s the plan from the beginning. It took a quarter to get into it."
Hendrick Hudson had a streak of three consecutive possessions in the second quarter when the Sailers made 3-point shots, but the Pirates responded with a fast break basket on the other end each time.
"We knew we couldn’t run with them," Hendrick Hudson Coach Ken Sherman said. "When our shots were falling, they were still running on us off made baskets. We’re working 30 seconds, breaking their press and making a bucket, and they come back and score in five seconds. You can’t do that. It’s something you practice, but until you see their team speed, it’s totally different. You can say you hae to get back on defense, but until they do it, that’s the difference maker. We could not slow them down, even when we were making baskets."
Forward Emma Daly provided an offensive spark in the second quarter, scoring nine of her game-high 15 points. She did most of her damage on offensive rebounds or by finding openings on the blocks against Hen Hud's zone.
"I was able to tell where the holes were in the defense. Amanda (DeCourcey), Missy and Sam (Alicandri) are all great at feeding the ball," Daly said. "I knew if I found the open spot, I'd get the ball."
Alicandri scored 11 points, making three 3-pointers.
"I thought Missy stepped up again, but I also thought Emma Daly did an awesome job," Pearl River Head Coach Lorraine Moylan said. "Sam did a real nice job, too. She made some big shots."
Megan Jahonda scored 12 points to lead Hen Hud (12-9).
With the victory, Pearl River (18-2) earned a return trip to the Westchester County Center for the Class A semifinals Thursday, Feb. 28 against Albertus Magnus. The Pirates defeated the Falcons in the semifinals the last two seasons and swept two regular season meetings.
"It's so exciting," Scognamiglio said. "This is my fourth year and fifth trip because we played in the Slam Dunk last year. it's the best time of the year. It's so much fun."
"Always love to get to the County Center," Moylan said. "It's a great place to play basketball. It's a great venue. These kids have earned it. They worked very, very hard. It's good to see."