PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – No 27-point loss can be pinned on one play, but last week’s playoff game between No. 11 North Salem and No. 6 Pleasantville comes close.
After heading into halftime down 25-22, the visiting Tigers were holding their own against the Panthers mid-way through the third quarter in the opening round of the Section 1 Class B tournament held Thursday, Feb. 20, at Pleasantville High School.
With Pleasantville in possession and the shot clock winding down, the ball was suddenly knocked loose and was rolling toward half court. Down just 29-24, North Salem appeared to have forced a much-needed turnover.
But Pleasantville’s Tina Matica raced to retrieve the ball with about three seconds to go. She took a few dribbles and heaved it from about 30-35 feet out, banking it in off the backboard and crushing North Salem’s spirits.
“The deep three was like a dagger,” said North Salem Coach Lance DeMarzo. “We played great defense and then all of a sudden a prayer went up and it went in and it kind of took the air out of the balloon a little bit.”
From that point forward, Pleasantville outscored North Salem, 36-14, en route to a 65-38 win.
DeMarzo was complimentary of Pleasantville, which put up 40 points in the second half.
“They’re a quality team,” DeMarzo said. “They’re a six seed. They’re 13-7. They played a tough schedule, too.”
Senior Liz Squire, who averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks this season, picked up 12 points and 8 rebounds in her final game. Senior Amanda Marano scored 7 points.
DeMarzo, who coached previously at Kennedy Catholic and Mahopac, was hired to lead the girls basketball program in November. He took over a senior-laden team that will graduate seven players this year: Marano, Squire, Julia DeSanto, Joan Herlihy, Hannah Carminucci, Leah Wright and Megan Wright.
“My girls played hard all season long,” DeMarzo said. “I couldn’t ask for anymore. I’m really proud of them. I mean, we fought through injuries, we fought through sickness, and I’m just proud of the girls. We played hard all year and I thank them.”
The playoff loss also served as a preview of the 2020-21 season. Two freshmen and two sophomores were called up to the team and saw some game action. Making her debut, ninth-grader Dana Connolly scored 5 points and grabbed 4 rebounds.
“We got to look at some of the younger girls,” DeMarzo said. “They played pretty well subbing in. So, our future is bright at North Salem.”