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Ossining Surge Sends Pride to County Center

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Top-seeded Ossining and ninth-seeded Horace Greeley were tied through the opening four minutes of their Section1 Class AA girl’s basketball quarterfinal game when Ossining coach Dan Ricci went to the bench.

Ricci called on seventh-grader Andra Espinoza-Hunter and she responded with a burst that boosted the Pride.

Ossining closed out the first quarter with a run and carried it into the second quarter of an eventual, 82-47 win, Tuesday.

The Pride, now 20-0, will face fourth-seeded John Jay-East Fishkill, in one semifinal, Thursday, March 1, 4:45 p.m., at the Westchester County Center. The Patriots stamped their ticket to face the Pride with a 59-55 overtime win over No. 12 Ursuline. The defending champion Pride will be making their fourth consecutive trip to the County Center and eighth in the last 11 years. Ossining won the Class AA title in 2004 and last year.

Saniya Chong finished with a game-high 22 points and 14 assists. Destini Walker added 19 points and six steals and Jelay Knowles had 15 points. Espinoza-Hunter had eight points in the first quarter and 10 overall.

With the score even at 12-12, Espinoza-Hunter entered the game and swished a left-wing triple. She added two free throws and another 3-pointer, as the Pride closed with a 12-3 run.

“Andra came in, hit some big shots and gave us a lot of energy,” Walker said. “It’s good when you have a player like Andra who can come off the bench like she did.” Espinoza-Hunter’s presence also coincided with Ossining revving up its running game, which was in full gear in the second quarter.

“We felt we needed to change the tempo,” Walker said. “We had to get into our running game, attack the basket and play tougher defense.”

Walker is even more excited about returning to the County Center. “Last year, being an eighth-grader, it was my first time and I didn’t know what the County Center was like,” Walker said. “I was little nervous last year. I look forward to going back.”

Jackie Brett led Greeley (13-7) with 14 points and Sam Srinivasan added 10 points and nine rebounds.

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