NEWBURGH – It’s easy to miss Kelly Markisello when you’re watching the Wallkill girls’ basketball team.
She doesn’t have the flashy ball-handling skills and 3-point range of Wallkill’s precocious sophomore guards Rachel Simon and Chelsea Murphy.
She isn’t necessarily dominating the glass like 6-foot-1 sophomore center Heather Kiczek.
She isn’t all over the court, doing a little bit of everything, like senior forward Lisa Bouffard.
To use a phrase, she is the “quiet Beatle” of this Wallkill team.
On Tuesday afternoon, however, Markisello was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.
She hit a 15-foot jumper as the clock expired to lift Wallkill to a thrilling 64-62 victory over Peekskill in the opening round of the Class A state playoffs at Mount Saint Mary College’s Kaplan Center.
I asked Markisello after the game how this stacks up against anything else she’s done in her athletic career.
“This is definitely the most exciting and most memorable of anything I’ve ever done,” she said.
Wallkill will go where no Wallkill girls’ basketball team has gone before: the state quarterfinal round. The Panthers play Section 4 champion Maine-Endwell at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Binghamton High School.
The Panthers will certainly get to work on Maine-Endwell on Wednesday, but Markisello and her Wallkill teammates just wanted to savor a special ending to an insane basketball game on Tuesday night.
“She had a great night tonight,” said Wallkill head coach B.J. Masopust. “She scored and she took open shots. What a beautiful finish. I couldn’t have written it much better than that.”
If you’re looking for a shortcut, here’s a raw clip of Markisello’s game-winning shot:
The Wallkill girls weren’t the only local team in action at Mount Saint Mary on Tuesday night.
The John A. Coleman Catholic girls, winners of six straight Section 9 titles – including three at the Class D, C and B levels in the last three seasons – faced Section 1 champion Irvington, the three-time defending Class B state champion.
Coleman Catholic got off to a decent start, even taking a 5-4 lead early in the first quarter, but Irvington soon looked like a 3-time defending state champ.
Irvington scored 30 points in the first quarter and rolled to a convincing 86-49 victory.
Senior center Lauren Melville is one of two seniors on the team, so you can expect Coleman Catholic to compete for a seventh straight title next season. What class will they be put in in 2013-14? Time will tell.
Here are some highlights from the game, as well as an interview with Melville, who will play Division II basketball at St. Thomas Aquinas next season.
I’ll be following Section 9 basketball for the next few weeks, so if you’re looking for live updates from games and links to stories, you may follow me on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.