Girls Basketball Notebook: Mahopac Slams Brewster; Kennedy Knocks off Somers: Chong makes top 3 in all-time points scored in Ossining win over Christ the King
Following losses to Peekskill and Somers before the New Year, all the Mahopac Indians needed was a quick start on Friday night to get back in the win column. Coming out firing on all cylinders vs. Brewster at home, Mahopac went on a 10-0 run to begin the game, and from there never looked back, rolling to a 58-32 league win over the Bears.
Mahopac F Mairead Hynes, who was the first player to score on either team in all four quarters of the game and led all scorers with 24 points, felt the Indians needed the win; looking at it as a boost for team morale. Once she got going, Hynes also thought, the rest of the team ignited.
“It was good for us, we needed this game after a couple tough losses to Peekskill and Somers,” she said. “We really needed this game to boost up our confidence and work on stuff we needed to do. We just kind of got on a roll where everyone was making shots, so once you make shots, it opens up shots for other people. Then when everyone starts making their outside shots, it gets a lot of fun.”
The Indians scored nine in the second before allowing another Brewster point, and finished the second on a 10-2 run, ending the half with a comfortable 36-16 lead. Hynes received great supporting performances from sophomore F Alayne Felix, who bucketed 12 points and freshman F Carly Pease who put up 11 and continues to improve with each passing game.
Mahopac’s defense also buckled down in the third, holding Brewster to only six points while the tribe continued its run of dominance on offense, climbing to 50 points by the end of the quarter. Head Coach Gene Verdino saw a huge improvement on the defensive side, his girls doing everything to maintain momentum.
“I’m just happy because I think the girls are starting to play the girl-to-girl defense better,” he said. “We’re starting to do the little things right: boxing out, picking up loose balls, helping out on the defense, so I saw a lot of progress.”
Although the Bears struggled to get going on offense they were led by senior Brittany Deiesa, who netted 12 points – with one good shot from outside the arc. Brewster’s Head Coach Mike Castaldo, a sharpshooter himself by way of Yorktown, felt the combination of the early hole – and the Indians’ ability to score unanswered points – were what did his team in.
“Mahopac just played a great game, Mairead just couldn’t miss,” he said. “There have been times we get down 10, 12-0 and we get into a shell; we don’t know how to get out of it right away and we don’t realize we have a lot of time left, so that definitely hurt us. They (Mahopac) didn’t miss all night and it’s tough to beat a team when they don’t miss.”
The Indians (3-5) will have a bit of a break, but will resume play on Jan. 14 vs. John Jay. The Bears (5-4) have pivotal games coming up on their schedule as well, vs. John Jay and SOMERS (4-4), who lost 49-27 at home Friday night to KENNEDY (7-2), the Gaels pushing their win streak to five in a row.
Kennedy jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the early going, but the Tuskers didn’t yield, taking a 20-19 lead at the half. Yet some adjustments on Kennedy’s defensive part made for a better second half; Somers only scoring a total of seven points in the final two quarters.
“We started off well, took an 11-2 lead on them but we got away from our game,” Gaels Head Coach Lance DeMarzo said. “We got a little sloppy on defense and we missed a couple shots in the paint. When we went in at the half we were down 20-19 and, looking at my stat sheet, we turned the ball over nine times. But in the third quarter we came out and we played our defense that we normally play and held them to two points in the third, stopping their pick and roll. We held them to five in the fourth, and we wound up with just two turnovers in the second half.”
Shayna Gaskins was at the forefront of Kennedy’s offense, leading the team with a double-double: 11 points and 11 rebounds. Megan Weidenhamer and Sara Dowd were also in double figures, each with 10 points.
The Somers defense did a nice job on Kiera Hennessy, holding the big scorer to just six. Leah Greene contributed royally with eight assists – and she leads the team in that category for the season, now with 27.
Nicole DeMase led the Tuskers with 11 points.
State-ranked (No.1) OSSINING (7-3) continued on its merry way after winning the Slam Dunk tournament last weekend on the strength of a 90-84 win over Irvington in the finals at the Westchester County Center. The Pride went on to beat No.8 Christ the King 89-84 on Friday night at home – in front of a house so packed, people had to be turned away at the door.
Saniya Chong, who battled flu-like symptoms before the game, only had nine points at the half. But the UCONN-bound superstar made history in the third when she netted her 13th point, becoming the third-highest scorer in Section 1 girls’ basketball history.
She did all this, by the way, with UCONN Head Coach Geno Auriemma looking on from the crowd: not a bad way to make a first impression.
Chong now has 2,418 points (as of press time) in her four-and-a-half year varsity career – a feat her Coach Dan Ricci was especially proud of.
“It’s impressive because she’s doing it in less time than everybody else and she’s only a four year varsity player – most of the others on that list played five or six years,” Ricci said. “I’m proud to see it, she’s a phenomenal athlete.”
Chong is now 58 points away from becoming Section 1’s second all-time highest scorer, and is expected to eclipse that mark and reach that milestone within the next two or three games, with her eye on former Peekskill great Sheila Wagner (No.1 Karen O’Connor (1983-87), FDR/Hyde Park — 2,662; No.2 Sheila Wagner (1981-86), Peekskill — 2,476; No.3 Saniya Chong (2009-13), Ossining — 2,418).
At the end of the third Ossining was ahead 57-54, but in the fourth, Chong came alive: 29 points in the final quarter to finish with 46 overall, leading the Pride. She also paced Ossining with seven boards and was the team leader in assists with 12.
Andra Espinoza-Hunter, Shadeen Samuels, and Jalay Knowles also helped carry the Pride. Hunter bucketed 18 points, Samuels put in 12, and Knowles had 11.
“We were getting contributions from other kids,” Ricci said. “So we played a good game even when Saniya wasn’t scoring, but she poured it on in the fourth.”
Ossining has Ardsley up next on its schedule on Thursday, followed by a match-up with Alexander Hamilton on Jan. 16.
Putnam Valley suffered a 55-42 loss on Friday to North Salem. The Tigers were led by Erin McCrudden, who posted 21 points. Reena Olsen was another Tiger in double figures with 12.
Hen Hud (5-4) took a 50-30 game from Panas (3-4) on Friday. Cassidy Boyle led the Sailors with 14 points while Bailey Stewart made eight. Sam Sudol was the Panthers’ leading lady with nine.
Haldane won big over Pawling Friday, 80-25. The Blue Devils have Kennedy next.
Lakeland picked up a win last Thursday over rival Yorktown, 40-27. On the same night, Croton-Harmon beat Port Chester 56-33 behind an outstanding performance by Dani Douglas: 19 points, including four 3-point field goals. Grace Mulligan also put on a show with six good shots from outside the arc.
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