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Rocks Sports

Rocks roll to regionals E.R. girls top Malverne in Small Schools B-ball championship

Posted Monday, March 07, 2005 by Karin Leary

It was only fitting that the first Nassau Small Schools Championship came down to two of the strongest girls' basketball teams in Conference VI, one of the most competitive conferences in Nassau County.

Malverne, the Conference VI champion, came into the showdown riding a nine-game winning streak that included a 62-45 win over Cold Spring Harbor in the Class B championship. With the win, Malverne earned its first class championship after three straight trips to the title game.
East Rockaway, meanwhile, was coming off an impressive season in which it ran neck-and-neck with Malverne in Conference VI. The teams split the regular season series - a 62-54 East Rockaway victory on Jan. 18 and a 66-48 Malverne win on Feb. 14.
On the strength of Meredith Levison's game-high 23 points, the Lady Rocks downed the Lady Mules 54-42 to capture the Nassau Small Schools Championship. East Rockaway earned a trip to the Class C Southeast Regional/Long Island Championship against Southold on Mar. 2 at LIU-C.W. Post.
Brittany Fuller's three-pointer from the right side helped East Rockaway to a solid 14-4 first-quarter lead. Malverne closed to within three, 16-13, on Tatiana Lopez's two-pointer with 5:05 left in the first half, but Levison's trey from the left side with 1:32 left widened the Lady Rocks' lead to 10, and East Rockaway was up 25-17 at the halftime buzzer.
"I knew our girls had that look in our eyes that we were going to do it today," East Rockaway coach Karin Leary said.
Levison's two three-pointers, both from the left side of the arc, gave East Rockaway a 34-19 cushion with 3:28 left to play in the third quarter, and the Lady Rocks' lead proved insurmountable. Kelli Hughes chipped in 13 points, and Brittany Fuller added 12 points and 14 rebounds. Malverne standout Lopez scored 18 points, and Serita Lee pulled down 16 rebounds coupled with seven points.
Levison will test her 18-points-per-game average over the last five games against a Southold team (14-8) that gave up 74 points to Glenn (22-0) in the Suffolk B/C championship on Feb. 22. Southold scored just seven points in the second half of that game, which should get the Lady Rocks' defense excited. They held Malverne to its second-lowest-scoring quarter of the season - four points in the first quarter - in the Small Schools Championship.
"We were very excited about [the win]," Leary said. "The kids were pumped up for this game. ... Winning it was definitely an accomplishment for us - it's momentum for us going into the regionals."
Despite the loss, Malverne remains alive in the playoffs, and faces Glenn for the Class B Southeast Regional/Long Island Championship on Saturday at Hofstra.

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