By Chris Perez
NEW ROCHELLE— With less than five minutes left in the second half, Ursuline’s Ariana Apostolopolous gained possession and looked to score when an inbounds pass from the other team was thrown directly to her.
But instead of putting the ball in the hoop, the referees blew the whistle and stopped play while everyone inside the Wellness Center at the College of New Rochelle burst into laughter.
After all, this was an all-star game, and all-star games are supposed to be fun.
“Honestly, I knew we were on defense, they just passed me the ball,” Apostolopolous said, “so I was like, ‘Oh, maybe we are on offense!’ ”
Apostolopolous and other seniors around Section 1 competed in the 2012 Section One Girls Basketball Senior Games to Benefit Breast Cancer Research on Saturday afternoon. Four teams — dressed in white and pink uniforms — competed in two games. The games, which were the final organized basketball games for many of the girls, were a fitting way to end some illustrious careers.
“It’s really been amazing,” said three-time Class B state champion Irvington’s Marley Giddins. “It’s nice to come out and play with some of these girls, I’m friends with a lot of them.”
Peekskill’s Asia Jackson was named one of the two Most Valuable Players of the second game, leading the White Team to a 101-70 victory. Jackson came close to a double-double, with 13 points, nine rebounds and six steals.
“It feels good,” Jackson said with a laugh, “another trophy I can add to my collection.”
Jackson received help from Carmel’s Sabrina Diaz and Maria Regina’s Lisa Mendez, both of whom finished with 15 points. Suffern’s Kaitlyn Wood connected on some deep 3-pointers to finish with nine points.
White Plains’ Sofia Roman led the Pink Team with 15 points, while Mount Vernon’s Sade King scored 12. Giddins was MVP of the Pink Team, scoring 11 points.
In the first game of the day, the White Team beat the Pink Team 63-57. Forward Jamie Rose Zappolo of North Salem took home MVP honors for the winning team with 10 points.
I did not expect to get MVP,” Zappolo said. “I just wanted to come out here and play. It’s the best feeling; I ended my high school career the best way.”
The game was close throughout. Team Pink was paced by Westlake’s Tina Karaqi, who finished with 11 points and was named MVP of her team.
“It was amazing to see all of us come together and play one last time,” Karaqi said. “I’m going to miss basketball a lot.”
Mendez, who was a late addition to the rosters, beat out Sleepy Hollow’s Jaime Bucci in the 3-point competition that took place between games. Mendez knocked down eight triples in the first round before ousting Bucci with 11 in the final.
“To show my face and say that Catholic schools have a lot of game, too,” Mendez said when asked why she attended. “It was a big experience for me.”
Close to $500 was raised for breast cancer awareness during the day, according to Rye Neck coach Cathy Toolan. T-shirts were sold and $3 donations were taken at the door. With no all-star game last year, the game returned for a good cause.
“It’s a good experience for everybody, I think,” Toolan said. “Hopefully it will continue.”