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Koalas Score First 15 Points And Never Trailed In Section 1, Class AA Game

By Sean McGee
Special to HVSR

WHITE PLAINS – The Our Lady of Lourdes High School girls basketball team wasn’t expecting this.

Heck, nobody was expecting this.

In its first meeting with Ursuline during the regular season, OLL lost to the Koalas by 15 points.

Ursuline covered that in the first four-and-a-half minutes of the game on Sunday and just kept piling on from there, thumping the Warriors 79-52 in the Section 1, Class AA championship game at Westchester County Center.

The ball just didn’t fall Lourdes’ way while, seemingly, any shot that Ursuline threw up at the rim seemed to fall through the net. The Warriors found themselves in a 15-0 hole.

“This game was over in the first two minutes,” OLL coach Al Viani said. “They didn’t miss a shot in that first quarter I don’t think. Everything they threw up went in. It bounced of the rim, it bounced off the backboard and it still went in. Everything we threw up kind of seemed liked it rimmed out, so between that and the early turnovers, it wasn’t meant to be.

The Warriors would go into the half down 46-18, and with a nearly 30-point deficit there was little the team could do to fight back into the game. Regardless of the score, the girls did not stop fighting though until the final buzzer.

“I just tell them that they got to keep our heads up,” said Lourdes’ Ava Learn. “If they need to, I will just show them how to keep going and we’ll keep pushing each other.”

Learn scored 20 points and Mikayla Russo would add 10 points, trying to create some offense and keep Lourdes in the game. Russo, being a senior, didn’t want this to be her last game, but she has a lifelong friend in Learn.

“It’s definitely really sad, the season was really fun,” said Russo, tearing and choking up almost unable to finish the sentence. “I became really close with Ava and some other girls, but I know next year they can take it all the way.”

Ursuline was just too talented as they were led by Alexa Mustafaj with 26 points and Sonia Citron with 16 points as both were putting the ball in the basket with ease, getting anything, they wanted. Meghan Casey added 10 points for the Koalas.

“It was definitely hard [to guard Ursuline scorers], but I think that our defense was really good. They were able to find that tiny second that our hands were down,” Learn said.

The loss in the championship didn’t take away the great season Lourdes had. The Warriors are already looking forward in taking the next step to raise the gold ball next season.

“Obviously it was a successful season to get here,” said Viani. “Last year we made it to the semi-finals, this year we got to the finals, hopefully next year we can push it a step further. The kids worked hard all year and they had a good final push at the end until this game.”

Please enjoy this great photo gallery from Todd McDonough.

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