WEEHAWKEN, NJ – So close.
Junior Marie Eid’s put-back off senior Nicole Molano’s three-point attempt at the buzzer lifted top-seeded Weehawken to a 39-37 victory over 12th-seeded Dayton Saturday in the semifinals of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 tournament.
Senior guard Sayre Brandstatter scored a team-high 11 points, including three 3-pointers, with five rebounds, three assists and three steals and senior forward Caitlynn McTernan added nine points with two 3-pointers and five steals to pace Dayton (15-12), which led 18-17 at halftime and saw its five-game win streak snapped to end its season.
Sign Up for E-News
Junior forward Michelle Bellino posted 10 points with eight rebounds and two steals in the loss.
"I am so proud of the team for the manner in which they mentally prepared themselves for the Weehawken game," Said Head Coach David Rennie. "We knew we’d be going into a difficult environment with a loud crowd rooting for the home team, but we embraced that challenge."
Rennie also said that while the team came up short, they gave Weehawken all they could handle.
Freshman guard Sofia Mendez scored 11 points with three 3-pointers and grabbed eight rebounds for Weehawken (23-5), which has won three straight, 20 of its last 23 games and will be in its first-ever sectional final as they host University (-) Monday at 7 p.m.
Weehawken improved to 13-0 at home.
In its last meeting, Dayton used an 18-0 first quarter to defeat Weehawken, 45-24, at home in the first round of the NJ, S2, G1 tournament on March 4, 2014.
Speaking about what he hopes his team has taken away from this season, Rennie said that his senior players have set a great example.
These seniors have been such great role models for the rest of the players in the program," he said. "Their dedication and work ethic is the main reason for our success over their 4-year playing careers. This senior group has experienced some of the most exciting state tournament runs this program has ever seen. We’ve advanced to the sectional semi-finals three year in a row, losing close contests to teams that were each predicted to beat us, but we gave them all they handle.
"If our returning players have learned anything from this season, I hope it is that we need to persevere through the difficult times each season is bound to encounter in order to reach success," he added.
Bulldog Bites: Brandstatter ended her career, scoring in double figures in eight straight and 14 of her last 15 games … The Bulldogs ended its season with a road record of 6-7 … Brandstatter hit 52 3-pointers, McTernan 51 … Four seniors say farewell to their high school hoop careers, including Julia Cohen and Maggie Phillips.