The first-seeded Lady Falcons took on the Newton Braves in the semi finals matchup of this year’s state tournament. In a hard fought game, Jefferson would come out on top 45-32 behind strong defensive plays and clutch shooting.
Right off the bat, J-Town came out hot. The Falcons opened the game with a quick 8-1 run against the Braves, just halfway through the first quarter. For the next four minutes of the first, it would be all Braves. Newton would turn it around in a heartbeat, wasting no time to claw back into the game. Although the Braves proved their worth, the Falcons still led by two after the first.
Again in the second, Jefferson came out superior. And again for Newton, they would impress their way back into the game. Finally with just two minutes to go in the half, the Braves tied the game. Their fight wouldn’t be enough to finish the half as the Falcons outplayed the Braves for the next few minutes, closing the half with a 25-23 lead.
In the third, the Falcons reasserted their dominance, and held onto it. Ivana Tisma, Tricia Orlandoni, and junior Deanna Torsiello were connecting on all shots and steamrolling over Newton. The defense didn’t lag behind the Falcons offense as after the clutch buzzer beating shot by Tisma to close the quarter, the Falcons had only allowed two points for the entirety of the third, and clinged to an 11 point lead.
The fourth would lead to more of the same for Jefferson, as the Lady Falcons punched their ticket back to the state finals with a 45-32 win.
After a suspenseful win, I award the player of the game to two Falcons players. First, Ivana Tisma, who tallied another double digit game in the win and continued to impress offensively, while also making clutch steals on the defensive side. The other goes to the lone senior Tricia Orlandoni. Orlandoni has now put together back-to-back double digit games scoring and showed heart on the court. Her do-or-die mindset has been key for the Falcons during their run this season.
For many of these girls, this isn’t their first state championship of the year. Several of the Falcons played for the girls’ varsity soccer squad as well who also had a state championship at home this past November (Leah Demko, Olivia Demko, Dara Studnick, Bryn Fitzgerald). After that game ended in heartbreak, those girls hope to use that as motivation for the upcoming showdown with the winner of the Glen Rock vs. Westwood game Saturday night. Either way, the girls’ finals will be back at The Nest, on Monday night.