St. John’s Prep girls fall short to St. Edmund Prep in semis

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Diane Buono knew it was over. As soon as her three-point attempt was in the basket, Buono raised her arms in triumph and thought to herself, “that’s it, we won.”

Buono’s three-point goal gave St. Edmund Prep (13-6) a 47-44 lead over St. John’s Prep (17-6) with 1:05 remaining in the game. Three free throws later by point guard Corina Borgia wrapped up the St. Edmund Prep Eagles’ 50-43 victory and the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division II championship at St. Francis College in Brooklyn on Saturday.

While Diane struggled to get her game on track in the first quarter, her sister Jessica had no problem picking up for her. The freshman scored nine points, seven of those coming in the first half to help St. Edmund Prep cling to a precious 24-23 lead at the half.

“I look up to my sister and see what she does and I realize that I wanted to be just like her today,” Jessica said.

“She’s gotten so much better through the season,” Diane said, who scored 19 points. “In the next three years, she’ll be even better.”

What started out as a contest between two offensively challenged teams turned into a classic game of tug-o-war after the first quarter.

Leading 24-13 with 2:59 remaining in the half, St. Edmund Prep watched an 11-point lead destroyed quicker than the Eagles had built it. Lora Morton’s turnaround jumper in the lane cut the Eagles lead to 24-21 with 20 seconds remaining in the half. St. John’s Prep Shaniqua Edmonds then stole the ball under the Eagles basket and drove the length of the court for a layup with five seconds left on the clock to make the score 24-23 in favor of the Red Storm.

It was at that point that some players on St. Edmund Prep could feel the championship slipping away.

“I didn’t want them to put their heads down and think the game was over,” St. Edmund Prep head coach Danielle Madden said about the Red Storm’s run.

That looked like it would be the case for St. Edmund as the Red Storm continued to feed off what it had accomplished in the first half. St. John’s Prep established a 36-31 lead to begin the fourth quarter, but that’s when Diane Buono decided to show up.

Diane scored ix of next eight Eagle points to give St. Edmund Prep a 42-39 lead with 3:46 remaining in the game that the Red Storm could not overcome.

“We had a couple of opportunit­ies,” St. John’s Prep head coach Edward Flood said. “But with a turnover here, turnover there, that makes the difference in close ball games.”

The ability of Diane Buono to play a whole game against St. John’s Prep turned out to be the key factor for the Eagles. St. Edmund lost two games against the Red Storm without Diane, the second one after she had injured herself driving to the basket to begin the second half.

St. Edmund Prep was probably an opponent the Red Storm was not expecting. As the No. 4 seed in the tournament, Prep defeated No. 1 seed Fontbonne Hall to advance to the finals last week. The Eagles felt coming in with that win coming into the St. John’s Prep game almost guaranteed then a victory in the final.

“We came into this game with a lot of heart,” Borgia said. “We played hard, we worked as a team and that’s why we won.”

Reach contributing writer William Hernandez by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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