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Ossining Girls Basketball Team Heads To Section 1 Class AA Final

Stephanie Svoboda wearing her 400 shirt in honor of coach Dan Ricci's 400th victory. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Abigail Squirrell is excited to be playing in the County Center Sunday. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

OSSINING, N.Y. -- After getting his 400th victory Thursday, Ossining girls basketball coach Dan Ricci is already thinking about number 401.

The Ossining girls basketball team defeated North Rockland 82-62 in the Class AA semifinals at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. The win was Ricci's 400th victory in his 24 years of coaching at Ossining.

"It feels great," Ricci said. "This isn't about me, but it's about the kids who played for me. I get tons of texts and Facebook messages from former players and parents. That's what it's about."

The girls will face Lourdes back at the County Center in the Section 1 Class AA final on Sunday at 2 p.m., hoping to bring home the gold ball for the fifth year in a row. Ossining is in the finals for the seventh year in a row.

"It means a lot," Ricci said. "These girls work hard, they have a great work ethic. They are skilled players, but they work hard."

Ossining got off to a slow start on Thursday but Jalay Knowles, Stephanie Svoboda and Shadeen Samuels helped pull the game away in the second half.

"We didn't start out well, but we picked it up," Svoboda said. "Coach really pushed us to do better at halftime."

Abigail Squirrel said she is really excited to be playing for the championship and that getting Ricci his 400th win was a really special moment.

"It means a lot," Squirrel said. "This has been a great experience. The feeling of winning never gets old."

To win on Sunday, Squirrell said she has to grab a lot of rebounds and that everyone on the team will need to step up.

"I want to go as far as we can go," Squirrel, a senior said. "I want to end this season on a good note."

Svoboda said it feels great to be back in the finals and said Ossining will have to play hard if it wants to win on Sunday.

"We need to play our game," Svoboda said. "We have to outrun them."

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