Of the seven lead changes in Thursday's Class 3A semifinal featuring DeLaSalle and Holy Angels, six came during a frenzied late stretch.
No. 1 seed DeLaSalle outlasted Holy Angels for a 61-59 victory as junior forward Nurjei Weems got loose for a layup with eight seconds left. A Holy Angels three-pointer missed as time expired.
"I was really scared," Weems said as the ball came her way. "I didn't want to drop the pass because I felt like it would have been on me if we lost the game. When I made the layup, the energy was really high and I was happy that I got to do that for my team."
The last of Weems' team-high 18 points won the game. But teammates Mary Claire Francois and Sydney Runsewe made equally big shots during a wild 2-minute, 28-second stretch during which the teams traded one-point leads.
Francois and Runsewe combined for nine Islanders points and offset the late-game mastery of Holy Angels sophomore guard Frankie Vascellaro. She scored 10 of her game-high 35 points in the final five minutes.
DeLaSalle (23-5) defeated the fourth-seeded Stars (22-8) twice in Tri-Metro Conference games this season, and Vascellaro suffered an ankle injury during the first meeting. Healthy on Thursday, Vascellaro showcased her skills.
"I knew she was going to come back and she was going to be ready to score," Islanders coach Tanysha Scott said. "She was their offense today."
Hitting shots early got Vascellaro into a rhythm the Islanders were powerless to stop.
"The stakes are high, and I know the team needs someone to score so that's what I did," Vascellaro said.
DeLaSalle called timeout with 29 seconds left and a 59-59 tie and elected to go inside for the victory.
"We didn't adjust positionally the way I wanted to, but I was expecting them to go inside," Holy Angels coach Dan Woods said.