Pelham girls basketball head coach Timothy Pitrulle couldn’t figure out why his team played so stiff in the first half of their Class A quarterfinal playoff game Tuesday at Nanuet.
“We’re the 15 seed,” he said. “We weren’t even supposed to be here.”
Pelham certainly turned things around in the third quarter, opening the second half with a 14-0 run en route to a 49-45 overtime victory. Pelham advances to play Peekskill in the semifinals at the County Center in White Plains next week, the school’s first appearance there since 2006.
In the third, Nanuet didn’t score a point until Ashley Mayo hit a three-pointer with just less than a minute to go in the quarter. The two teams kept things close most of the way, with Theresa Blumenfeld hitting a jumper from the top of the key to tie the game with 55 seconds to go in regulation. Pelham couldn’t do anything and Golden Knights had a chance to win the game, getting the ball under their own basket with 16.8 seconds left in the game.
On the final possession of regulation, a stingy Pelham defense sniffed out Nanuet’s intention before the play even began and the Knights couldn’t bounce back.
“We thought they were going to try to get the ball to [Theresa Jelalian], so we did something we hadn’t done all game and put a box-and-one on her, with [Vittoria] Volpe on her,” Pitrulle said. “We thought that since she’s their best shooter, they were most likely going to try to get her the ball.”
Pitrulle’s thinking was right.
“We were trying to get Jelalian a shot at the end,” said Nanuet Head Coach Carlos Fidalgo. “We had plays set up in case they went with a box-and-one and for if they didn’t. We just didn’t react well at the end and the play fell apart.”
On the last play, Jelalian didn’t even touch the ball.
In overtime, Pelham took the lead for good on a layup Kathleen Moskowitz, her first field goal of the game. The layup came with the game tied at 43 with 1:38 to go in the extra period. Moskowitz was also fouled on the play and hit the free throw to give the Pelicans a three-point lead.
Jordan Amorelli led Pelham in scoring with 20 points. Volpe chipped in 10 and was the only other Pelican in double figures.
Alana Prosapio scored 14 points to lead the Golden Knights. She left the game with 13.1 seconds to go in overtime after going up for a rebound and dropping down hard, slamming her head on the court. The game stopped about 20 minutes while Prosapio was evaluated and eventually taken off the court via a stretcher once the Nanuet EMS arrived. While on the court, Prosapio was moving her arms and talking.
After the game, Fidalgo said he didn’t have any updates, but said she seemed in good spirits before she was taken away.