IRVINGTON, N.Y. Ardsleys Toni Pilla led all scorers with 27 points and teammate Hannah Smith scored seven critical points in the final minutes Thursday as the Panthers earned a 51-47 victory over Dobbs Ferry in the opening round of the 33rd Annual William Warnock Memorial Tournament at Irvington High School.
Ardsley (1-0) will face host Irvington in Saturdays tournament final at 8 p.m., while the Eagles (0-1) will meet Blind Brook in the consolation game at 4 p.m.
We wanted to play tighter defense in the second half and make sure we got good shots, Pilla said. Everyone stepped up to make big plays and the defense got us back in the game.
The Panthers trailed the Eagles 9-4 after five minutes of play until Dobbs Ferrys senior guard Jeana Corradina hit two three-pointers and Christy Sato and Kristin Foresti each nailed a three to build a 16-11 lead for the Eagles at the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers defense stiffened in the second quarter, holding the Eagles to 11 points, but Ardsley could only score 10 and trailed 27-21 at the half.
Pilla took over midway through the third quarter for Ardsley, hitting a three-pointer with just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter to make the score 34-32. Pilla kept up the pressure, scoring on another three-pointer and adding another hoop to give the Panthers a 36-34 lead after three quarters.
Ardsley took a late seven-point lead at 44-37, but Foresti and Corradina led the Eagles back to within 44-41 and the game stayed tight the rest of the way. The Eagles trailed by a single point with less than two minutes remaining when Smith hit a bucket and then two free throws to help the Panthers hold off the Eagles.
I just try to relax and concentrate, said Smith, who finished with 13 points. We played with a lot of heart to come back and the defense played hard the whole second half.
Ardsley coach Michael Pollio was impressed with Dobbs Ferry and his teams ability to win the opener.
Dobbs Ferry is a very good team and will get better, Pollio said. The kids know each other well, so that makes for a tough game. I thought we played well and Hannah had two big rebounds and made five free throws to help us win it.
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