Smithtown West's Katherine DeLanty tries to get a shot off before Centereach defenders reach her for the block. Photo by Desirée Keegan
January 29, 2014 | 02:58 PMSmithtown West's girls basketball team hosted Centereach Tuesday in a League III matchup where the Bulls prevailed 67-48, to keep their chance of making the playoffs alive.
The Bulls were 3-7 coming into the game and needed the win to remain in the running. Smithtown West had previously lost to Centereach by a point, 53-52, on Jan. 6.
"[The loss] was really disappointing to us," Bulls head coach Katie Combs said. "We wanted to come out and show that that game shouldn't have went that way, and that we deserved a playoff spot."
Freshman forward Gabby Horman started off the scoring for the evening, sinking one of two foul shots, and adding two back-to-back field goals to give her team a 5-0 start.
Centereach forward Lauren Meigel added a run of her own, scoring three back-to-back 2-pointers to give her team a 1-point lead.
Pamela Giordano shoots a 3-pointer. Photo by Desirée Keegan
The teams traded points until the game was tied 11-11, but the Bulls added 5 more points while Centereach could only add 1 off a foul shot, to bring the score to 16-12 at the end of the first.
From there, Smithtown West continued to turn up the heat as the Bulls charged ahead with senior forward and co-captain Katherine DeLanty leading the way with 6 points across the quarter, and senior forward and co-captain Pamela Giordano was close behind with 5. Junior guard Selena LaFranca added 2 free-throw points of her own, and the Bulls pulled ahead 29-20 at the end of the half.
"We played really good defense," DeLanty said. "Our press was definitely on point, and some of our shots were dropping that weren't dropping last game."
DeLanty continued the scoring for the Bulls in the third with back-to-back field goals for 2 points apiece. Multiple teammates drove to the basket for points with Giordano, Horman, and senior guard and co-captain Siobhan Kehoe adding buckets to give the team a 12-point lead, 47-35, at the end of three.
Centereach was riddled by fouls throughout the game and it continued to hurt them.
Horman sank both of hers, Kehoe added a point off hers, senior guard Gabby Cabello netted 2 points, junior guard Brenna Butler scored off both attempts, LaFranca added 2 points off of two separate fouls and Giordano swished her first to help the team accumulate 12 points off of eight Centereach fouls.
"We didn't box out and the fouls killed us," Centereach head coach James Steigele said. Centereach let up 20 points on foul shots alone. "[Smithtown West] hitting the free throws extended that lead and put us away."
Butler scored two field goals and DeLanty hit a layup. Add that to Giordano's 3-pointer and the Bulls ended a successful evening ahead by 19 points.
Above, Centereach's Jackie Buzaid drives to the basket. Photo by Desirée Keegan
"I think it went pretty well," said DeLanty, who had a team-high 15 points and 11 rebounds. "[Centereach] is really good competition. We came out here looking for a win and we needed this for playoffs, because if we lost we would've been out, so we were really determined."
Giordano, who had 12 points and said she thought the game was a little sloppy, added the team pulled it together and had some nice boards.
"It was so much better than we've been playing," Combs said. "The girls really put their whole hearts into the game and I couldn't be happier with the effort — there are a lot of mistakes we have to fix for the next game though, like the turnovers."
Combs said her team did well with holding back Centereach with their press by running down the shot clock to almost half, forcing Centereach to rush the ball.
"Our press looked really great and caused a lot of turnovers," Combs said. "It's not about steals, but it's about getting people to play fast. We could improve on boxing out, rebounding and not turning the ball over as much, but that will come hopefully in the next three games."
The team got off to a rough start this season, but Giordano said the Bulls have continued to improve and Combs agreed.
"We've been coming together really strong," Combs said, adding that the next three teams they play are beatable, but also said they've lost to all of the teams except Newfield. "They're beatable, but it depends on how we show up and play. Throughout the season we've had our ups and downs — more valleys than peaks, but we're starting to get to the end where we need all of these games to get into the playoffs, and I wouldn't count us out too soon."