BARDONIA — Winning a championship takes a combination of things. Of course the talent and skill have to be there, maybe even a little bit of luck, too. But more often than not, championship teams have the “playoff magic”.
Look at some of the basketball teams which won championships last year. The Peekskill girls won as an outbracket team in the Section 1 Class A tournament. The New Rochelle boys reached the Class AA state finals after entering postseason as a .500 team. Both had the “magic” to keep winning, against the odds.
Albertus Magnus is well above .500 and it is certainly no outbracket team, but the “magic” is there. The No. 2 Falcons (16-4) topped No. 7 Somers in the Class A quarterfinals, 48-41 on Wednesday, continuing their run without starting senior point guard Kelly Guarino, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear last week.
Guarino, who was in full uniform and wearning no brace on Wednesday, was presented with a commemorative ball signed by her teammates and coaches. The ACL tear is the guard’s third in three years.
“I’ve been coaching 17 years — she’s the smartest player I’ve ever had, and it’s not even close,” said Falcons coach Pat Buckley, who will advance to his fourth semifinal in four years at the helm.
Albertus Magnus’ depth was on full display against a tough defensive Tuskers team. Senior Ryan Doherty, who filled in last year when Guarino missed the entire season, scored a team-high 17 points.
“Our team has been (to the County Center) for the past 14 years and you don’t want to be the team to mess that up,” said Doherty, who is committed to St. Thomas Aquinas College in Orangeburg. “It feels awesome, especially to win on your home court in your last (home) game as a senior. To be able to go to the County Center once again, nothing is better than that.”
Junior Madison McGrath (pictured left, 5) chipped in 15 points and classmate Chontel Fils (pictured left) recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Gabby Rosenzweig (pictured left, 3) led the way for the Tuskers, scoring a game-high 20 points.
Albertus Magnus will play No. 3 Rye in the semifinals on Wednesday at a time to be determined.
All photos from this game were taken by Peter Carr of The Journal News. Click here to view the entire photo gallery. Video recap below by Mike Zacchio.