By Tony Pinciaro
A mid-week loss to fellow Class A school Pearl River dropped LAKELAND to 4-3 in its last seven games, after opening the season a perfect 10-0. Lakeland would not have time to be upset over the loss because the Hornets’ next opponent was intra-district rival, WALTER PANAS. The Panthers defeated the Hornets in their first meeting of the season.
Lakeland returned to practice, following the loss to Pearl River, focused and intent on improving on areas of its game that needed to be upgraded. The result: Lakeland avenged its loss earlier in the season with a 60-55 victory over the host Panthers in the 31st annual Giglio Games last Saturday.
Lakeland, the current No.3 seed in Class A, is now 15-3 this season as it prepares for the always-competitive Section 1 Class A Girls’ Basketball Championship. The Section 1 regular season concludes Monday, Feb. 14, followed by the seeding meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 15. The Section 1 Girls’ Basketball Championships will begin Feb. 17 with Tappan Zee (16-1) clinging to the top seed.
“We took a look back at the Pearl River game, watched film and saw the areas we could improve on,” senior and captain Tyler Hormazabal said.
Hormazabal pointed out that Lakeland went to school on its first game with Panas, the current No.2 seed.
“We knew the many things we needed to improve on after that game,” Hormazabal said. “Panas is a very strong team so we focused on our offense and defense, as well as our strengths and weaknesses. We also spoke to each other about working together as a team and our bond together, and that helped us moving forward. We were happy to come out with a win.”
Hormazabal finished with 17 points to lead a balanced scoring effort. Ava Lugo added 15 points and Nichole Ljuljic contributed 14 points. All three hit big shots down the stretch.
Lakeland Coach Miranda Mangan cited Hannah Devane, Grace Hahn and Hormazabal with converting key free throws down the stretch.
Lugo and Ljuljic have raised their games, offensively, giving Lakeland proven scorers behind Hormazabal. Teams can no longer focus their defensive attention solely on Hormazabal.
“Since the beginning of the season, everyone has been working hard and this hard work is really paying off and helping us get victories,” Hormazabal said. “And I know I can count on every single one of the my teammates to finish the play. I have confidence in my teammates’ ability.”
Hormazabal finished with a game-high 22 points in Lakeland’s 47-33 victory over HEN HUD, to open its week. Lugo added eight points and eight rebounds.
MAHOPAC continued rolling with three more victories – over Somers (61-40), Yorktown (53-29) and Brewster (57-32).
Mahopac is now 12-4 this season, including 7-0 in league play, with the current No.4 seed in Class A.
A key factor in Class Mahopac’s surge is its defense, as it held Yorktown and Brewster to season-lows in points.
“I think the intensity of our defense starts with our communication,” said senior and captain Melanie DeMeo. “Whether we are on, or off the ball, we are always calling screens and having active hands to produce steals or deflect the ball any chance we get.”
Mahopac held YORKTOWN’s leading scorer Melissa Severino to just six points. In the Brewster game, after Grace Galgano scored 20 points in the first half, Mahopac limited the Bears’ star to three points in the second half thanks to Jess Sterbens and Fiona O’Boyle.
“Going into the Yorktown game we knew that Melissa Severino runs a lot of their offense so we tried to prevent her from getting the ball as much as possible,” DeMeo said. “Grace (Galgano) was on our radar. She is a very good player, but Jess and Fiona took on the challenge of containing her in the second half. Getting that type of contribution from them was huge, and a big part of that win.”
Julie DeBrockey had 13 points for Mahopac against Brewster. Kristina Rush and DeMeo each had 11 points.
DeMeo scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the first quarter against Yorktown. Lauren Beberman finished with 13 points and Rush added 10 points.
DeBrocky scored a season-high 19 points as Mahopac opened its week against Somers. Rush added 14 points and Beberman chipped in with 10 points.
Ava Guidice led SOMERS with 17 points.
OSSINING dropped a pair of games – to Yorktown (61-55) and White Plains (64-58) in which the opponents outscored the Pride in the fourth quarter to overtake it.
The Pride snapped its three-game losing streak with a 68-56 victory over Irvington at the Pauline Ricci Memorial Classic. Ossining followed it up with a win over Peekskill, improving to 12-4 this season as the current No.6 seed in Class AA.
Class AA Ossining closed out the 11th annual Pauline Ricci Memorial Classic with the win. It was the fifth game of the day in what has become an outstanding tournament in honor of Ossining Coach Dan Ricci’s late mom.
Even though no fans were allowed to attend the games, Ricci said all of the coaches committed to playing. Each player received a shirt commemorating the event, which made Ricci smile.
“It’s a great event and it’s always good for me because it’s in my mom’s name,” said Ricci, who also did this when he coached varsity football and girls’ varsity lacrosse. “When I was told that we were not having fans, I reached out to all of the coaches to let them know. And they said, ‘We are still coming. This is for your mom’. It was great basketball as the teams played hard, and we raised money for scholarships. I really thought it was a good day. Some of the coaches and some of the kids donated. We were also able to live-stream the games so fans could watch.”
Ossining outscored Irvington, 16-7, in the fourth quarter.
Ella Schnecker poured in a game-high 29 points and Katie Marx added 19 points and 10 rebounds. Michelle Mercado registered 15 assists and Karen Perriott grabbed 12 rebounds. Ricci cited sophomore Ella Castrillon, who scored five points in the decisive fourth quarter, and junior Angelica Rios who grabbed six rebounds.
“It was our best win of the year,” said Ricci of the Irvington game. “Irvington is super well-coached and it had just beaten Hastings. The kids fought through adversity. They came up and made some big shots at the end of the game. Ella (Schnecker) had a great game. It was definitely a team effort. We are having a different player come off the bench to help us. It’s a good sign when kids are coming in and contributing.”
Schnecker scored 15 points and Marx added 13 points against White Plains. Mercado finished with 11 points and 10 assists and Karen Perriott had a team-best 10 rebounds.
Yorktown outscored Ossining, 25-14, in the fourth quarter, to grab the win.
Marx and Schnecker each had 18 points. Mercado had nine points and 10 assists and Perriott collected 15 rebounds.
BREWSTER registered two impressive wins to open the week, including Grace Galgano achieving a milestone.
The senior reached 1,000 varsity points in a 66-28 win over Horace Greeley.
“Grace converted a layup midway through the first quarter,” Brewster Coach Mike Castaldo said. “Grace has had an incredible career and is having a ridiculous senior year. She missed half of her freshman year due to an injury and only played in 13 games last year because of a shortened COVID season and she was still able to get 1,000 points. She will be the only player in Brewster history, boys or girls, that will end her career with over 1,000 career points and rebounds.”
Galgano finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots against Greeley. Adrianna Calicchia and Madison Dakin each had 11 points and Jordan Niles scored nine points.
Galgano had 25 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots as the Bears held off a late-charging John Jay-Cross River, 43-38. Calicchia converted three of four from the foul line in the final seconds to secure the win.
Brewster trailed Mahopac, 22-21, at halftime, but the Bears only managed 11 points in the second half.
“We were in a great position to come away with a huge win on the road against one of the best teams in the section and we went ice cold,” Castaldo said. “We couldn’t score, we couldn’t rebound and we took too many possessions off. Against a team like Mahopac, you can’t afford to take one possession off. Mahopac did a great job and played a great 32 minutes.”
Galgano had 20 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots. Brewster, now 14-4, closes out the season with Somers and Yorktown while clinging to the No.6 seed in Class A.
YORKTOWN had two memorable victories last week as the Cornhuskers beat Ossining (61-55) and Kaitlyn Judge’s 3-pointer at the buzzer resulted in a 57-55 win over John Jay-Cross River.
Melissa Severino gave Yorktown the lead for good against Ossining on a lay-up with 1:06 remaining in the game. Severino scored 10 of her team-best 18 points in the fourth quarter, including 3 of 4 from the free-throw line to seal the win.
Olivia Lucas scored 14 points Erisa Krasniqi added 11 points. Judge’s last-second shot was the third time this season Yorktown has won in the final seconds. Judge finished with a career-best 18 points, including 15 in the second half.
Mahopac defeated Yorktown, 53-29. Despite the loss, Yorktown has won eight of its last 10 games, improving to 10-6 as the current No.10 seed in Class A.
PANAS split a pair of games as the Panthers (16-2) beat Poughkeepsie (78-29), but lost to district rival, Lakeland (60-55).
Freshman Cadence Nicholas had 20 points and six steals against Poughkeepsie. Katie Hoffman had 13 points and Kelsey Cregan and Lindsay Kagan each chipped in 11 points for the Panthers.
PUTNAM VALLEY beat Dobbs Ferry 79-48 behind 28 points from Eva DeChent. Amanda Orlando added 19 points and Nai Torres contributed 13 points. The Tigers (9-7) will be a tough out in Class B’s postseason, currently seeded seventh.
PEEKSKILL beat Lincoln as Amori Murphy and TK Cowan Honghoch led a balanced scoring effort with 10 points apiece. Jayla Smith added nine points and Amori Cleveland scored seven points for the Red Devils (11-6), the current No.9 seed in Class A. Honghoch tossed in 21 points and Kiki Mercado had a season-high 15 points in a loss to Port Chester.
Ray Gallagher contributed to this story.
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