BRIARCLIFF — The box score at the conclusion of third-seeded Briarcliff’s convincing 59-32 win over No. 6 Valhalla in Tuesday’s Class B quarterfinal was filled with key contributors for the Bears, but most impressively, it was dominated by freshmen.
Each of Briarcliff’s top three scorers is in her first year of high school.
Sabrina Panarese led the way with 16 points, Jackie Contento had 14 and Carly Fanelli added 12.
The win was coach Don Hamlin’s 300th. But, with such a young squad already having success, many more can be predicted.
“There’s no seniors on our team, so it’s crazy that we’re going to be the same team for the next few years,” Contento said. “It’s going to be a great run.”
The Bears jumped out to a 15-2 lead and never looked back. Their fast start was sparked by their ability to create turnovers. They finished the first quarter with six steals, including three by Contento.
“That was very important because that gives us fast breaks,” Panarese said. “That’s how we score — getting up and down the court.”
While Contento and Fanelli were in Briarcliff’s starting lineup, Panarese came off of the bench and provided a lift by scoring 11 first-half points.
“I felt like I was doing very well today,” Panarese said. “My shots were pretty much all going in — well, most of them.”
The three freshmen may be new to the varsity team but they’ve been together for years while playing for Hamlin’s AAU team, the Hudson Breeze.
“We all have good chemistry together,” Panarese said. “We’ve been playing since we were in the third grade and we just all work really well together. We know what everyone can do.”
Next up, the Bears will play No. 7 Woodlands in the semifinals on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Westchester County Center.
Briarcliff eliminated the Falcons last season on a game-winning jumper with 1.8 seconds left.
“Last year, they played them in their first (-round) game and they won, which was crazy,” Contento said. “I was an eighth-grader just watching them, and it was a great experience.”
Written by: Vince Z. Mercogliano
Here are the results from the other Section 1 Class B quarterfinal games on Tuesday:
Irvington 59, Hastings 28: In the Class B quarterfinals at No. 1 Irvington, Laurilyn Gelardi had 24 points and Catherine Hoy had eight rebounds against the No. 9 Yellow Jackets. The Bulldogs will face No. 4 Dobbs Ferry in the semifinals Tuesday at 8:15 p.m. at the County Center.
Dobbs Ferry 58, North Salem 38: In the Class B quarterfinals at No. 4 Dobbs Ferry, junior Molly Altholz poured in 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Eagles. Sophomore Emily Bohl added 10 points. Sydney Cardoza led the Tigers with 14 points. The Eagles will face No. 1 Irvington in the semifinals Tuesday at 8:15 p.m. at Westchester County Center.