The fifth-graders on the Our Lady of Peace Catholic Schools Organization girls’ basketball team won the Division C championship on Feb. 11 at St. Agnes Cathedral School in Rockville Centre.
OLP lost only one game this season, and defeated St. Elizabeth of Hungary School, from Melville, 16-14, to earn the title.
“The whole thing was just awesome,” said Peter Festa, who coaches the team along with Derek Jennings.
Jayla Corley set the pace for OLP by opening the scoring, but the game was tied, 10-10, by the third quarter. Myrna Papa, whose daughter, Gianna, is on the team, said the game was a nail-biter.
“The girls were nervous, but pumped off their win on Saturday,” Papa said, referring to OLP’s overtime victory the night before the championship game.
With three minutes left in the fourth quarter, Festa’s daughter, Jillian, scored the game-winning basket from the three-point line. “It was a pretty far away shot and I was just hoping it would go in,” Peter Festa said. “Our side was very excited that it went in.”
The team has been together for three years and is comprised of girls from Our Lady of Peace and students in the Lynbrook School District. The girls practice every Wednesday during the season, which Festa said paid off with the championship win.
With the C title secured, the team is likely to move up to the B division next season, in which they would be able to play against more seasoned teams in the CYO. “I’m just very proud of the girls and look forward to another season next year,” Festa said, “and we’ll try to climb higher.”