Not thrilled with its No. 8 seed in the Nassau Class AA girls’ basketball playoffs after winning 13 games, Calhoun responded with what Katie Healy described as its best performance of the season in a 72-39 victory over No. 9 Oceanside in a first-round matchup on Feb. 15.
After reaching the 1,000-point milestone in the regular-season finale, Healy poured in a career-high 34 points and fellow senior Honora Campbell added a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) as the Lady Colts enjoyed their biggest offensive output of the campaign and advanced to face four-time defending county champion Baldwin in the quarterfinals. Sophomore Jamie Behar had 18 points, including her 1,000th, and sophomore Gina Contorno had 14 to lead the Lady Sailors.
“We thought we could’ve been seeded a little higher, but we got the home playoff game we deserved and brought our best tonight,” said Healy, who scored 13 points in the first and third quarters. “We played a team game and shot really well.”
Oceanside (10-10), which entered the playoffs on the heels of back-to-back wins over Massapequa and Uniondale, never led but scored the last nine points of the opening quarter — Contorno accounted for six — to pull even at 17. But Healy got the second started with a running layup, Campbell started hitting from behind the arc, and Calhoun (14-6) never looked back.
“After we beat Massapequa, we felt we could play with anyone in the county,” Oceanside head coach Jared Stoler said. “We came into this game feeling confident and I thought we played a solid first half. In the second half, they just turned it on and caught fire.”
Campbell scored 13 points in the second quarter, including a trio of treys, to help them to a 34-26 halftime lead. She was also instrumental on the defensive side throughout, Lady Colts head coach Pete Magnuson said, holding Behar to three points below her average.
“Honora is a cerebral player and very good at carrying out her defensive assignments,” he said. “She also hit some huge shots.
“We kept practice loose all week,” Magnuson added. “We had a skills competition on Monday, worked on some offensive sets on Tuesday, and then some defensive things on Wednesday.”
Calhoun began to pull away in the third quarter, thanks in large part to lights-out shooting, and in just over three minutes built a 50-28 advantage. Senior Lauren Pitti scored all seven of her points in the third, senior Meghan Schiaffo sank a three-pointer, and Healy drained a pair while adding a traditional three-point play.
“When you look at how Katie gets her points, most come from pure hustle and drive,” Magnuson said of Healy, who’s the second-leading scorer in school history behind Megan Vasquez. “She’s a real competitor.”
The Lady Colts outscored Oceanside 25-6 in the third to lead by 27 going into the fourth. The visitors got six points from freshman Jackie Sailer.
“They’ve got a senior-laden team and do a lot of things well,” Stoler said. “It’s upsetting to end this way, but I’m proud of the season and our program has a bright future.”