Mepham maintains hot pace

Lady Pirates beat Calhoun behind McNeill's 17


Already in the driver’s seat to capture a fourth consecutive Nassau Conference AA-III girls’ basketball title, Mepham stepped on the gas Jan. 30 by running its winning streak to six games with a 66-43 victory over visiting Calhoun.

Senior Bridgid McNeill scored a career-high 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, junior Megan Anderson added 15 points and six assists, and junior Alexa Morris chipped in 11 points as the Lady Pirates (7-0 in conference play, 9-3 overall) completed a sweep of the Lady Colts while setting a season high in the scoring column. Calhoun (2-5, 3-10) was led by senior Nora Charidah’s 13 points.

“Our last home game was almost three weeks ago [Jan. 10], and I thought the girls brought a lot of energy and followed the game plan as they have all season,” Mepham head coach Jim Mulvey said. “We wanted to be aggressive in all of our cuts and make them work really hard on defense.

“We had a bit of a lull after a great first quarter, but then we picked it up again late in the third,” he added.

Calhoun, which led the first meeting by a point with less than a minute to go before falling 48-45 on Dec. 20, trailed by as many as 13 in the opening quarter but got within one possession early in the third. “I thought in the first half they pushed us around a little bit,” Lady Colts head coach Dave Radtke said. “They came out really aggressive, but we picked up our physicality and started matching them on the boards.

“We didn’t give up, and the result doesn’t change our playoff situation,” he added. “It’s going to come down with how we do against Elmont and Great Neck South, and we beat both of them the first time. Making the playoffs would be huge for us.”

Ten of McNeill’s points came in the first quarter and helped the Lady Pirates race to a 17-4 lead in less than five minutes. Calhoun closed the gap to 31-24 at the half after senior Jackie Ras and sophomore Kim Pike boosted the offense in the second quarter.    

“Calhoun’s a tough team to guard because of the style they run,” Mulvey said. “They’re crafty and constantly use subs to keep everyone fresh.”

Baskets by Charidah and junior Megan Callahan to start the second half brought the Lady Colts within three, but Morris capped a 10-2 Mepham spurt with a trey to up the margin back to double digits at 41-30. Anderson hit a long three-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to make it 51-38 heading into the fourth.

“We’ve got a nice little cushion atop the standings with three games to go,” Mulvey said.