The City League girls basketball matchup last night between St. Ursula Academy and much-improved Waite was about as even as they come.
Both teams entered 9-2 and 5-1 in CL play. After one overtime, they were still even.
But Waite - which rallied from an 11-point third-quarter deficit, and was 9-of-20 on 3-point attempts - survived for a 75-72 double-overtime victory at home.
Post player Tatyana McNeal had 19 points, and guard Lakina Cleveland (16 points) netted 5 of 10 3-point tries for Waite. The Indians' win spoiled a 23-point, 10-rebound effort from Arrows forward Alison Florian, who missed two free throws with 59 seconds left in the second overtime and SUA trailing 74-72.
Cleveland made a free throw with 30 seconds left and, after teammate Shareese Ulis missed the front end of a one-and-one with six seconds left, Emily Florian's long 3-point shot with one second to go missed. The Arrows were 0-of-9 beyond the arc.
Waite led 17-13 after Anedria Allen's 3-pointer beat the first-quarter buzzer. The Tribe went ahead 23-17 on a McNeal free throw with 6:10 left in the second quarter, but SUA used a 16-4 run for a six-point lead before Cleveland hit a 3 from 10 feet inside the time line at the halftime buzzer.
The Arrows looked in control with a 10-2 run to start the third quarter behind four field goals from Alison Florian, but Waite rallied with a 13-2 surge to make it 45-45 later in the quarter.
"We picked up the intensity when we were down 11 and went after them hard with the trap," Waite coach Manny May said. "The kids really bought into it. They gave their heart and soul to bring it back."
"This is a very important win for us. It's the first time we've beaten St. Ursula in my seven years here. I'm delighted for the school."
The Indians were down 62-58 with 39 seconds left in regulation until Allen (nine points) hit a 3. Waite sent the game into overtime on McNeal's layup with two seconds left.
"We just had to settle down and play our game," McNeal said. "We had to be patient, run our offense, and pick up our intensity on defense. This is a big win, but we've got to stay humble and continue on our mission."
Shonika Knowles had 12 points and Ulis nine for Waite, which was 27-of-63 from the field and 10-of-17 from the free-throw line. Each team had 33 rebounds.
"It was a great game, great to be a part of," SUA coach Tony Donofrio said. "We certainly wish we wound up on the other end of it, but Waite is a very good basketball team.
"It doesn't get any closer than that. They did what they had to do to win, and we missed some opportunities.
"It's pretty hard to handle nine 3s. That's great execution on their part."
SUA, 28-of-52 from the field and 16-of-24 from the line, got 15 points from Joan Anderson and 10 each from Emily Yasowitz and Emily Florian.
"I stayed after practice [Tuesday] working on my jumper, and it came to me in the game," Cleveland said. "With all the 3s I made, I was blessed.
"Our coach always tells us, 'Don't quit,' and we do whatever it takes."
Contact Steve Junga at:
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