WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Tiffany Corselli practiced for a week after returning from an ankle injury but the Alexander Hamilton senior had yet to test herself in a game.
Whatever concerns Corselli had were immediately allayed when banked in a 3-pointer to open the game. It was the beginning of a 25-point performance as the top seed defeated fourth-seeded Keio, 45-31 in a Section 1 Class C Girls Basketball Championship semifinal at the Westchester County Center.
The defending champion will play second-seeded Haldane for the championship noon Saturday.
“When I first went down with the injury, the athletic trainer at our school said I might have a chipped bone in my foot,” Corselli said. “I was kind of scared at first when I heard that. I didn’t want my season to end. I just wanted to get back out and play. I was hungry.”
Once Corselli made her first shot, the adrenaline was pumping and she was ready to keep it going.
“Any time I start the game with a 3, it excites me,” Corselli said.
Corselli demonstrated this excitement in the first half, scoring 16 of Hamilton’s 22 points as the Red Raiders could not shake a gritty, determined Keio. Last year, Hamilton overwhelmed Keio in the championship game.
With leading scorer Maia Hood sidelined with a knee injury, Hamilton received a lift from seniors Kali Gill and Maiya Scott. The tandem had eight points apiece.
“Maiya did a tremendous job today,” Corselli said. “We’ve been looking for her to hit the shot down low and she showed she could do it. Now teams won’t be able to double team me because of Maiya.
“Kali was outstanding on the boards today. She was the Maia for us today.”
With all of Corselli’s offensive fireworks, she turned in a pivotal defensive play, which sent Hamilton on a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter
Keio trailed, 36-31, one minute into the fourth when Sae Toyomura grabbed a rebound and sent a long pass down court. Corselli intercepted it and took it the length of the court for the layup.