SOMERS, N.Y.— It appeared that Somers was on its way to winning the Michael DePaoli 21st Annual Memorial Tournament after a Liv Lipski jumper gave the Tuskers a three-point lead with under a minute remaining.
Ursuline answered down the stretch, however, to hand the Tuskers a 55-53 loss on Saturday, Dec. 17, in the championship game of the tourney. The Koalas also defeated Somers by a point last year in the championship.
“They were hurt by this game,” Somers coach Marc Hattem said of his team. “This wasn’t a moral victory for them. I couldn’t be happier about that as a coach. They wanted this game and they felt that they should win it against an excellent basketball team. We’re going to fight and compete. They’re talented kids and we’ve got something to work with.”
Katie McLoughlin scored and was fouled with 36.4 seconds left to trim Somers’ lead to two points. She missed the free throw, but tournament MVP Korin Guerra secured the rebound and scored on a putback to put Ursuline up by a point.
Guerra went 1 of 2 from the line with 24.3 seconds left and Angelini’s last-second heave was off as the Koalas held on.
A Danielle DiCintio 3-pointer gave Somers a 51-48 lead with 1:35 to play, but Ursuline’s pressure forced Somers into some critical turnovers down the stretch.
“I knew Dani would hit that shot,” Hattem said. “She’s been in the gym forever shooting that shot and I knew it would go in.”
Ursuline led 27-25 at the half, but the Tuskers came out on fire in the third quarter and outscored the Koalas 16-5 to take a 41-32 lead into the final quarter.
A Lipski 3-pointer gave them a quick lead. Angelini scored and Penzo hit a pair of runners to give Somers a 34-31 edge. A Lipski layup, a three-point play from Angelini and two free throws from Penzo gave Somers a 10-point advantage.
“I thought Angelini and Penzo were dynamite,” Hattem said. “The game plan was to go out and stick with them in the first half and then put some pressure on [Korin Guerra]. We used a diamond-and-one on her a little bit and I thought that threw off Ursuline’s momentum. It let us get our lead. But then they went to that 1-3-1 [defense] and it frustrated us. It was the first time we saw it this year.”
Angelini, who was named all-tournament, had a team-high 16 points. Lipski (13 points), DiCintio (11 points), Penzo (six points) and senior Livy Rosenzweig (four points) also contributed. Rosenzweig was named to the all-tourney team.
“I have to count how many rebounds Liv [Lipski] had, but I think she must have had 12 or 14 rebounds,” Hattem said. “She was great on both ends. I thought the girls played well and played together.”
The dynamic duo of McLoughlin (26 points) and Guerra (19 points) combined for 45 of Ursuline’s 55 points.
Somers cruised past a shorthanded Mahopac squad 50-35 a day earlier in the opening round of the tournament. The Tuskers jumped out to a commanding 25-12 halftime lead.
“I thought we would struggle because Mahopac is a tall and physical team, and we hadn’t played in nine days,” Hattem said. “Last night was one of those games where the lead went from 10 to 12 to 15 and stayed there the whole time. We did what we needed to win against a strong, physical team. We rebounded the ball really well.”
Angelini (14 points), Lipski (13 points), Penzo (nine points) and DiCintio (six points) paced the Tuskers.
Somers (3-2) was to travel to Poughkeepsie to face Our Lady of Lourdes at 6 p.m. on Dec. 21, and then host Yonkers Montessori at 4:30 p.m. the next day.
“We turned it over against the press [against Ursuline] and we need to clean that up in late-game situations,” Hattem said. “We’re just getting better at everything we do. They’re becoming better players and we’ll go from there.”