A magical Wantagh girls basketball season driven by three determined senior captains came to a heartbreaking conclusion Wednesday evening.
Wantagh rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit in its Nassau County Class A quarterfinal game at home against Sewanhaka and led the entire fourth quarter until the game's final seconds. Leading by one with 17 seconds remaining, Sewanhaka's Rachel Wisniewski converted a layup and a later free throw from Jenny Pechacek capped the Indians' upset of second-seeded Wantagh, 41-39.
"It was a hard-fought game that could have gone either way," said Wantagh's 20th-year girls basketball head coach Stan Bujacich.
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While's Wantagh's successful 2012/13 campaign ended three wins shy of a Nassau County Class A title, Bujacich was proud that his team was able to accomplish its first conference championship since 2007 with an undefeated league season.
"They accomplished a lot," Bujacich said. "They had a great year."
Bujacich gave much of the credit for the Lady Warriors' on-court success in 2012/13 to his three senior captains of Erin Pugh (forward), Demi Valenti (guard) and Erin Smith (forward).
"They were the driving force behind our great season," Bujacich said of his three senior leaders.
Despite having the season end in crushing fashion, Coach Bujacich said this team was one of the best he has coached in his two decades behind the Wantagh bench both in terms of ability and personality.
"They are a great group of kids," he said. "They put us back on the basketball map."