WHITE PLAINS — For the first half of Sunday’s Slam Dunk Tournament girls championship, Ossining coach Dan Ricci relentlessly pleaded for a traveling call that wouldn’t come.
In the second half, with his team down 15 points and still no traveling calls coming his way, Ricci sat along his bench and watched quietly as the Pride fell to Long Island Lutheran, 52-39, at the Westchester County Center.
It was an unusual sight all around.
Ricci quiet, Ossining not hoisting a shiny, spherical ball at the end of a tournament — none of it seemed right. The Pride struggling is a sight most aren’t accustomed to seeing.
“I think this is growing pains for us,” Ricci said. “We didn’t have the intensity we normally have, and that’s a credit to (Long Island Lutheran) — they played very well.”
Ossining, the reigning Class AA state PHSAA champion and three-time defending Section 1 champion, lost its first game at the County Center since the 2010 Slam Dunk Tournament title game.
Long Island Lutheran, last season’s Class A Federation champion, was bumped up to Class AA this season and was ranked third in the state entering Sunday. The Pride were ranked sixth.
“The kids have to grow up,” Ricci said. “The first half was all Jalay (Knowles) and she had no help at all. She had 14 of our 20 points, and I told them we needed some help. We got a little bit of help (in the second half), but then we didn’t get anything from Jalay.”
Knowles finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. The 6-foot junior forward shot 5 of 19 from the field; the rest of the team was a combined 4 for 40.
Ossining shot 4 for 39 from 3-point range during the tournament’s two games. The Pride hit 246 shots from beyond the arc last season, all but two of which were made by players who either graduated or transferred in the offseason.
“It was very frustrating. We just have to play through it,” Knowles said. “We’re going to work on shooting (Monday) at practice. We’re going to try to work and get better and get our 3-pointers back to the way it was.”
All photos from this game were taken by Dave Gershgorn for The Journal News. Click here to view Dave’s entire photo gallery.