Shadeen Samuels picked the right night to have the game of her young career.
The sophomore forward drained five three-pointers on her way to a 31-point night to lead Ossining past Cicero-North Syracuse 74-59 in Saturday's state Class AA girls basketball championship game at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy.
“(It was the) best performance of her life,” said Ossining coach Dan Ricci. “She really picked us up the whole night.”
“(Samuels) had an unbelievable game,” said C-NS coach Eric Smith. “She had something like 150 points, didn't she?”
It may have only felt like Samuels scored that many points to Smith and his Northstars. Not only was Samuels hitting 3-pointers, but she was hitting them at critical junctures in the game.
Her first two baskets from beyond the arc gave Ossining a 24-20 lead. Her next two sparked a 9-0 run in the third quarter that expanded the Pride's lead to 57-36.
“The first 3 I took, I thought, 'Oooh, it rattled in.' The second one I made, I started to feel it then,” said Samuels.
C-NS had difficulty countering Samuels' production. Ossining's aggressive trapping defense forced the Northstars into 19 turnovers, and the Pride limited them to 28 points near the basket.
“They're good anticipators,” said Smith. “They anticipate where you're going to pass the ball, and they jump the passing lanes.”
Five of C-NS's 19 turnovers came in the first three minutes of the game, as Ossining jumped out to a 6-0 lead.
The Northstars chipped away at the deficit and tied the score at 18-18 early in the second quarter before Samuels' hit the first of her five three-pointers. A 14-4 Pride run later in the period gave them a 38-27 lead at halftime.
C-NS managed to cut Ossining's lead under 10 points a couple of times early in the third quarter, but once the Pride pulled away again, there was little the Northstars could do to make it close again.