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Hastings Nips Edgemont in Costello Tournament

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Rita Culpepper’s short jumper with three seconds remaining in the game lifted the Hastings girls’ basketball team to a 40-38 victory over Edgemont Friday in the opening round of the John Costello Holiday Basketball Tournament.

“It’s my first,” Culpepper said of the game-winning shot. “I had the spot and got the ball, so I wanted to make it if I could. It was a good game, they pressed and we got a little nervous, but we came through.”

Hastings (2-1) advanced to Saturday’s championship final against Blind Brook and Edgemont (1-2) will meet Rye Neck in the consolation game.

The Yellow Jackets stayed with the Panthers in the first quarter and trailed 13-11 as Edgemont’s Gaby Susz led the way. Hastings opened up and took over the second quarter, outscoring the Panthers 13-2 to take a 24-15 halftime lead, led by Lea Distlehurst and Rita Culpepper, who each scored six points in the first half.

“We had a lead early and then let it slip away because we were playing too safe,” Edgemont coach Mike Tracey said. “We weren’t aggressive enough in our loss to Scarsdale, so we went with a press and it got us back in. It was a chess match and they got the last shot. We play them again next week.”

Edgemont pressed for much of the second half and closed the gap to five points three minutes into the fourth quarter. Culpepper and Alex LeFevre each hit a basket for Hastings to stretch the led to 34-25. Distelhurst hit a big basket with three minutes to play to pad the lead to 36-28.

Edgemont closed to within 36-31 with 2:15 to play and then to 36-33 with 1:01 on the clock and tied the game at 36-36 with 30 seconds to play. The teams exchanged baskets before Culpepper hit the winner.

Susz led the Panthers with 13 points, including two late baskets that completed the late comeback, and teammate Shayna Davner had 10 points, six in the fourth quarter. Victoria Catrini’s basket tied the game at 38-38.

Kelsey Barry, who gave the Jackets a 38-36 lead with her only basketball of the game, had 12 rebounds and played strong inside defense from her center spot for the Jackets.

“I try to play good defense because that wins games,” Barry said. “When I got the rebound I could feel (the defender) behind me so I turned and shot. I usually look to get the ball to my teammates, but I thought I had a good shot.”

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