Lakeland Clips Greeley in Relay for Life Tourney

News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

We are part of The Trust Project

Raguso Goes off, Hen Hud Takes Sleepy Tourney Title

By Tony Pinciaro
Lakeland’s Nichole Ljuljic drives past Greeley’s Bella Schulman in Hornets’ win in championship game Lakeland’s Relay for Life Tournament Saturday.

It is always great for a team to open a new season with a couple of wins. It’s even sweeter when a team wins its own tournament in the season-opener. LAKELAND did this, beating Croton (40-25), then Horace Greeley (69-51), to win the Hornets’ Relay for Life Tournament.

It is the second consecutive year Lakeland kept the trophy, thanks to tournament MVP Nichole Ljuljic.The junior guard scored 17 points against Croton and had a game-high 23 points in the final.

“It’s our first two games so it’s always nice to win, but it’s also nice to win your own tournament at home,” Ljuljic said. “You’re in front of your fans and everyone knows about the Relay for Life and how awesome it is to be a part of every year.”

Lakeland led Greeley by two points going into the fourth quarter, but Ava Lugo sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around an Amanda Franco triple, putting the Hornets in control.

“When Greeley switched to a 2-3 zone, we were able to rotate the ball fast and to the opposite side of the floor and our shooters got hot,” Ljuljic said.

Greeley’s Meredith Feiner looks to get off a shot in traffic over Lakeland’s Nichole Ljuljic and Grace Hahn.

One early and positive aspect of Lakeland’s two wins was its ability to have balanced scoring. This is a good sign as Lakeland graduated leading scorer Tyler Hormazabal and Hannah Devane, who averaged double-digits in scoring.

“Having balanced scoring is very important for a basketball team because when you have at least five girls who can give you 10 points or more, coaches on the opposing team have to be aware of everyone,” Ljuljic said. “It allows us to create spacing on the floor and run our sets.”

Ljuljic cited the maturity of the underclassmen, which enabled Lakeland to spread out the scoring.

“Our two sophomores, Amanda Franco and Sarah Devine are doing such a great job,” said Ljuljic of the two returning varsity players. “It’s awesome seeing how hard they worked and how they’re becoming great players.”

While Ljuljic led Lakeland with 23 points and seven assists in the final, Lugo added 15 points, Devane contributed 12 points and Franco finished with 11 points. Devane had a team-best 10 rebounds and Lugo collected seven boards.

Ljuljic (also four steals) and Franco scored 17 points apiece against Croton. Devane had eight rebounds and five steals and Grace Hahn also had eight rebounds and added four blocked shots.

Lakeland’s Amanda Franco looks to get a shot off over Greeley’s Allie Mosca in Hornets’ tourney title win over visiting Quakers Saturday.

HEN HUD opened its season in impressive fashion, winning the Sleepy Hollow Tournament and outsourcing its two opponents by 58 points. The Sailors bested Westlake, 56-36, in the first round behind 22 and 12 rebounds from tournament MVP Kaitlyn Raguso.

Elyse Smith added nine points, Madison Porter had a team-leading 16 rebounds and K. A. McCarthy contributed five assists and three steals.

Raguso scored 20 points and added five rebounds and five steals in a 62-24 victory over Sleepy Hollow in the championship game.

Kayla Tresgallo chipped in eight points and Porter had seven points and six rebounds. Kate Stratton shared the team lead with six rebounds and McCarthy added five steals and four assists.

“These were two great team wins to start out the season,” Hen Hud Coach Ken Sherman said. “Everyone was contributing and everyone was playing their roles. And Kaitlyn Raguso is off to a great start.”

BREWSTER is perfect through two games as the Bears defeated Haldane (53-21) and Class B power Hastings (49-43).

Madison Dakin scored 17 points and added eight rebounds and Jordan Niles chipped in 15 points against Haldane.

“We did a great job getting turnovers on the press and scoring off it,” Brewster Coach Mike Castaldo said. “Bre Washington and Bri Franklin were solid, all night, for us with great defense and great decision making on the offensive end.”

Niles and Dakin led Brewster, with 20 points and 13 points, respectively, against Hastings.

Castaldo cited the play of eighth-grader Lauren Leon, who made two huge baskets in the second half, and sophomore Olivia Francis, who contributed six points, all in the second half.

“It was a tight game from start to finish,” Castaldo said. “We just couldn’t pull away. Every time we went up by nine or 10 they cut it to five or six. Hastings is very well-coached and very aggressive. It’s tough to win on the road and I’m glad we were able to get out of there with a win. I’m really proud of the girls for how they executed late in the game.”

HORACE GREELEY opened the season splitting its two games in the Lakeland Relay for Life Tournament.

The Quakers cruised to a 60-41 victory over Clarkstown North in the first round. Last year, Clarkstown North defeated Horace Greeley in the first round.

Bella Schulman had a team-high 20 points, Emma Rose connected on five 3-pointers for 15 points and Allie Mosca added 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Meredith Feiner grabbed 10 rebounds.

Lauren Bergin, Georgia Sack and Sophia Ivanov all scored their first varsity points.

“This was a nice way to start the season,” Greeley Coach Sarah Schum said. “The girls played hard and played together. All 12 girls got to play with 10 of the 12 scoring, which is always great.”

The Quakers trailed the host Hornets by two points entering the fourth quarter, but Lakeland outscored Greeley, 23-7.

“Itr was a close game up until about six minutes remaining then a few untimely errors made the difference,” Schum said. “We are asking the girls to play at a much quicker pace than normal. We are still working out some kinks, but we are excited by the start of change.”

Mosca led Greeley with 16 points, Rose added 12 and Ava Gusba had 10 points. Feiner grabbed a game-best 16 rebounds.

Rose was selected to the all-tournament team.

WESTLAKE went 1-1 to begin its season at the Sleepy Hollow Tournament.

The Wildcats dropped a 57-36 verdict to Hen Hud in the first round, but they bounced back to handle Mamaroneck, 68-49, in the consolation game.

All-tournament pick Allie Castellone poured in a game-high 22 points against Mamaroneck. Sami Oswald added 14 points and Maggie Plotkin finished with 12 points.

“We struggled against Hen Hud with our effort and intensity, overall,” Westlake Coach Sean Mayer said. “Against Mamaroneck, we started the game with much more effort and execution. We moved the ball well, connecting on eight 3-pointers, and played solid defense.”

Plotkin and Brooke Pfeiffer, in their varsity debuts, scored 14 and 12 points, respectively, against Hen Hud.

VALHALLA played two close games to open the season only to come away with losses at the Irvington Tournament – to Irvington (47-35) and Dobbs Ferry (46-41, in the consolation game).

Tvisha Sivaramakrishnan had 15 points and 10 rebounds against Irvington and led the Vikings with nine points against Dobbs Ferry.

HALDANE had a tough start to its season, losing to Brewster.

“The girls played real hard and showed a lot of grit and determination,” Haldane Coach Ed Crowe said. “They gave 32 minutes of effort.”


Somers will host its annual tournament Thursday-Saturday. Mahopac will play Panas, Thursday, and Ossining has Somers, Friday. The consolation game is 11 a.m Saturday, and the final is 3 p.m. Saturday.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.