STANDISH — Abbie Eastman’s four-point play early in overtime gave St. Joseph’s momentum and the Monks went on to beat Emmanuel College 81-70 to win the Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament Saturday.

Eastman, an Oxford Hills High graduate who finished with 11 points, caught a pass from Kelsi McNamara as the shot clock was winding down just under two minutes into overtime. She hit the shot as the horn sounded and was fouled.

Eastman made the foul shot and St. Joseph’s finished the game on a 15-4 run to earn their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III tournament and give Coach Mike McDevitt his 500th career victory.

“That was the biggest shot of this game,” said McDevitt. “Abbie’s been with us for four years and she’s one of those kids who doesn’t get a lot of notoriety. She doesn’t score a lot of points but usually we ask her to guard one of the better players and she’s always setting other players up. What a great, special moment.”

St. Josesph’s improved to 24-4 and finished 15-1 in the conference.

The Monks, who also beat Emmanuel for the conference title last year, will find out Monday afternoon who they play in the NCAA tournament. This was St. Joseph’s third GNAC tournament title in the last four seasons.

Emmanuel finished 20-8, 14-2 in the conference.

McNamara scored a game-high 24 points and was named the tournament MVP.

After Eastman’s shot, McNamara expertly ran down the clock for the remainder of the game, often finding teammates open for good looks late in the shot clock.

“My first thought is drive to the basket – that’s what Coach always tells me,” McNamara said. “And normally if I drive, a help defender is going to come over and the girls on the wing are open for the 3.”

McNamara added five assists and five rebounds.

“Kelsi is just a special player and you can’t teach that kind of composure,” said Eastman. “As her teammates, we know she’s not going to freak out and she’s just going to make a good decision, and we have to be ready for anything. She might pass it, she might shoot it – but we know she’s always going to make something positive happen.”

Added McDevitt: “She’s a coach’s kid. Her dad was her high school coach and she just inherited that natural instinct of knowing what to do at the right time. Without her leadership a lot of our players don’t get the kinds of shots that they get. Because she draws so much attention it requires some help and it just makes everyone better.”

Emily Benway and Regan McFerran each had double-doubles for St. Joseph’s. Benway had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and McFerran finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Jen Chalk had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Alexis Ezell added 18 points and eight rebounds for Emmanuel.

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