WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – By the end of the first quarter, Ossining freshman Shadeen Samuels had established herself as an impact player in the Section 1 Class AA Girls Basketball semifinal Thursday against Ursuline.
Samuels scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds in an explosive first quarter for Ossining. The Pride built on that the first-quarter surge to score a 100-57 victory over fourth-seeded Ursuline at the Westchester County Center.
Ossining, the No. 1 seed, will played second-seeded Our Lady of Lourdes in the title game at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Samuels finished with 17 points and seven rebounds in her County Center debut. Her performance was instrumental in Ossining’s win because the Pride were without starting forward Jelay Knowles, who was sidelined with an injury.
“When coach told me I would have to play her position as hard as I could, I was sad because Jelay and I start together and it’s hard when you are not able to play with her,” Samuels said.
Ossining coach Dan Ricci also entrusted Samuels with guarding Ursuline’s 6-foot-2 center Alyssa Lawrence, who will head to San Diego State in the fall to play basketball.
Samuels and Ossining got Lawrence in quick foul trouble as she picked up three and sat the majority of the second half. Lawrence fouled out two minutes into the second half and finished with just two free throws.
“I was a little nervous, at first, but as soon as I got on the court I knew I had to get over it and started playing,” Samuels said.
Samuels plays beyond her years, said senior Danielle Gervacio, who is in her fifth appearance at the County Center as an Ossining varsity player.
“Shadeen was great,” said Gervacio, who finished with six points. “She plays hard every time she is on the floor. She seems older than a freshman.”
Saniya Chong led Ossining with a game-high 29 points. Andrea Espinoza-Hunter added 21.