Goldstein didn’t think of itself as the favorite coming into the game, but considering the circumstances a win wasn’t out of the question. Despite not playing well and its star point guard hobbling on a bad ankle, the Dolphins were down just four points midway through the third quarter.
“We didn’t expect to win,” junior Chrissy McKeever said. “But once we started, we knew we could.”
Four points, though, would be the closest Goldstein got. With Brittany McDonough looking on from the sidelines with ice on her ankle, the Dolphins fell to St. Mary’s (Lancaster), 61-46, in the New York State Federation Class B semifinals on Friday, March 26, at Glens Falls Civic Center.
“We didn’t do our best,” sophomore guard Nora Elbassiony said.
Goldstein coach Adrian Buchhalter took McDonough out with three minutes left in the first half and she didn’t return. She badly sprained it in the Dolphins’ PSAL Class B championship win on Saturday, March 20, against Academy of American Studies and attempted to play on it last Friday, but just couldn’t gut out the second half. For awhile, she was just running on adrenaline.
“Once you [sit down], that’s it,” Buchhalter said. “That’s the end of your day.”
McKeever did pick up the scoring slack, dropping in 20 points, and Elbassiony and Danielle Bonsignore each had 10 apiece for Goldstein (21-3). But without McDonough the Dolphins couldn’t use their pressing, trapping defense and St. Mary’s (16-10) – particularly 5-foot-3 guard Raeann Stilwell – burned them. She had 38 points to set the state Federation ‘B’ single-game scoring record, previously held by Moore Catholic’s Sue Harnett, who had 37 in 1985.
“It’s a big difference [without McDonough],” admitted Lancers coach Keith Junik, who took a train nine hours to scout Goldstein last week at St. Francis College.
Stilwell was incredible. She had four 3-pointers, seven steals and five rebounds. Buchhalter gushed about her afterward, but also about how well St. Mary’s offense ran. Stilwell was coming off double screens, which isn’t normally seen in a ‘B’ game. Buchhalter said he doesn’t even practice defending those.
“That’s a really high-level operation,” he said.
Had Goldstein won and advanced to Saturday morning’s final, the Dolphins would have been without four key players – seniors Nicole McKeever, Stephanie Caravello and Brianna Rogers and junior Chrissy McKeever, who are going to Europe on a school trip. Chrissy McKeever said it would have been disappointing if they had to miss game, but Elbassiony said it didn’t enter into their minds at all against St. Mary’s.
“I was going to be upset,” Elbassiony said. “They’re a big part of this team. … We would have lost, but we could have given it a shot.”
Buchhalter declined comment on the situation, though sources told The Post that parents of other players were angered.
There are plenty of positives for Goldstein, though. The Dolphins return all but those three key seniors. With McDonough, Elbassiony, Bonsignore and company, they should be a force once again – whether it’s in the ‘A’ or the ‘B’ league. And the returners will already have that PSAL championship under their belt.
“We’re just glad that we made it up here,” Elbassiony said.