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Rocks Sports

East Rockaway Handles Haldane

Posted Monday, March 07, 2005 by Karin Leary
East Rockaway handles Haldane

By

JOE MANNIELLO - Newsday

March 6, 2005


It was emotional for Meredith Levison and Brittany Fuller.

Their tears of joy flowed after the final buzzer as they posed for pictures with the highly sought-after championship plaque.

The juniors had every reason to smile and cry as they helped lead East Rockaway to a 53-45 win over Section I's Haldane in the Class C Southeast Regional girls basketball final yesterday before a crowd of about 400 at Hofstra Arena.

East Rockaway (21-2) anticipated this game the entire season. After losing to Haldane, 44-35, in last year's regional, it was well worth the wait.

Haldane (21-4) had its 15-game winning streak snapped. More importantly for East Rockaway, it advanced to the state public schools semifinals, where it will play Section IV champ Seton Catholic (14-7) at 2:15 p.m. Saturday.

"It hurt so much last year when we lost to them," said the 5-11 Fuller, who scored eight points. "We had to come out and win. We never wanted to feel that way again."

Fuller said the post-game celebration brought back memories from two seasons ago, when East Rockaway won the same game.

No one seemed to want it more than Levison. She scored 18 of her 28 points in the second half as East Rockaway outscored Haldane 32-22. With East Rockaway clinging to a three-point lead with just under a minute left, Levison nailed a three-pointer from the right corner to seal the win.

"It's a lot of emotion," she said. "It's one of the greatest feelings in the world."

It was Levison's court leadership and aggressive play that helped East Rockaway erase a two-point halftime deficit in a 17-8 third quarter. Kelli Hughes had nine of her 11 points during a 15-2 run over the final six minutes. Levison assisted on three of Hughes' baskets and had five points of her own.

"She had it in her eyes today," East Rockaway coach Karin Leary said of Levison. "She wasn't going to let us lose."

Brittany Shields led the Blue Devils with 16 points.

- JOE MANNIELLO

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