It was destiny versus dynasty – and the reigning champs prevailed.
The girls basketball team’s inspired season ended Saturday when the Chiefs ran into two-time defending Nassau champion Baldwin. Behind senior guard Alex Hampton’s 24 points, No. 1 Baldwin beat the second-seeded Chiefs, 62-41, for the Nassau Class AA title before a crowd of 800 at LIU Post.
Hampton delivered a third straight county title for the Bruins (19-1), converting 6 of 7 free throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach. Baldwin hit 14 of 19 foul shots in the fourth quarter as Massapequa tried to extend the game.
But the crowd got an early indication of where the game was headed as the Chiefs missed their first seven shots from the floor and committed five turnovers. Baldwin’s defense denied drives to the basket and contested every shot.
“First five minutes without scoring is tough,” said Massapequa Coach Shari Roessler, whose team .
Morgan Roessler’s three-pointer put Massapequa on the board at 6-3 with 2:50 left in the first quarter. Roessler, a junior guard and daughter of the longtime coach, led the Chiefs with 13 points.
The younger Roessler closed the gap to 18-13 on a free throw with 3:47 left in the half. That was as close as Massapequa (17-3) would get.
When Baldwin’s Mariah Butler left the game with a leg cramp, freshman Jade Aponte stepped in and promptly drilled a killer three to beat the shot clock and push Baldwin’s lead to 39-25 with 2:11 left in the third. It was that kind of afternoon for the Chiefs.
But at least Massapequa was relevant once again. After two years away from the championship-game spotlight, the berth marked a return to form for one of Long Island’s storied basketball programs.
“It was exciting to be back here,” the elder Roessler said.
The Chiefs have played in 12 county finals over the last 17 seasons, but have not won since 2006.
Maybe next year. Massapequa graduates four seniors – Sarah Grzybowski, Joanne Josephson, Melissa Maini and Nicole Scicutella – but returns a strong core.
Baldwin moves on to the Long Island Class AA championship game and will face Riverhead March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Farmingdale State.
Nassau Class AA Girls Basketball Playoffs
Championship @ LIU Post
Teams..................1.....2.....3.....4 – F
Massapequa.........4...12...10...15 – 41
Baldwin.............15...11...13...23 – 62
M: Roessler 5-1-13, Van Buren 0-4-4, Maini 2-0-4, Doherty 1-1-3, Scicutella 2-2-8, Josephson 0-1-1, Byrne 1-0-2, Grzybowski 2-1-5, Sieber 0-1-1. Totals: 13-11-41. B: Harrison 4-5-15, Hampton 6-10-24, De’Graff 2-2-6, Butler 2-2-7, May 1-2-4, Aponte 1-0-3, Sobel 1-1-3. Totals: 17 -22-62. Three-pointers – M: 4 (Roessler 2, Scicutella 2); B: 6 (Harrison 2, Hampton 2, Aponte, Butler).