By Jano Tantongco
The Harborfields Tornadoes spun circles around the Elwood-John Glenn’s girls basketball team on Tuesday, upsetting top-seeded Lady Knights 54-46 to earn a spot in the Suffolk’s Class A final on Friday.
Seeded fourth in this year’s Class A tournament, Harborfields battled the Lady Knights, coached by the longtime head coach Andrew Athanas, whose team boasted a 10-game win streak entering the rivalry matchup.
Harborfields coach Glenn Lavey realized that his team had to “grind it out and get up in their face” if the Tornadoes were going to beat Glenn.
“We didn’t know if that would work, but we knew that was the only way we were going to be able to beat a team that good,” Lavey said.
Harborfields started slowly, accruing 7 points in the first quarter, including a three-pointer from Christiana De Borja. They were bested by Glenn, which took a 12-7 advantage into the second frame.
However, in the second quarter, the Tornadoes’ Angela Deren hit a three-pointer that would ultimately foreshadow her team’s comeback with her team trailing by just three points come halftime as Glenn’s momentum began to wane.
The Tornadoes ripped through the court in the third quarter. Deren knocked down two more three-pointer, and Falyn Dwyer contributed six points of her own. By the time the dust settled, Harborfields jumped out to a 35-28 lead to start the final stanza.
But Glenn did not give up the win easily. Both Alexis Groark and Maggie McGutkin sank three-pointers in an effort to cut the Tornadoes lead down, bringing their team’s total to 18 points in the last quarter. Harborfields kept up the pace and raked in 19 points of their own, securing the upset.
“I don’t think John Glenn played poorly. It was more that we rose up,” coach Lavey said after the game.
Top scorers for Harborfields were Dwyer and Grace Zagaja, both of whom scored 12 points. De Borja finished with 10 points, and Deren earned 9 points on three three-pointers.
Reflecting on his final game before retirement, Glenn coach Andrew Athanas said that Harborfields “beat us legit.” The game marked the end of Athanas’ 31-year career.
Lavey paid homage to the longtime coach, calling him “great.”
As for Harborfields, the Tornadoes are slated to meet the Islip Buccaneers at 8 p.m. on Friday at Suffolk Community County College’s Selden Campus for the Class A final. There will be a $6 admission charge.