February 26, 2013 | 728 views
Mepham beaten in quarterfinals
Third-seeded Mepham and No. 6 Uniondale started off their quarterfinal matchup of the Nassau Class AA girls’ basketball playoffs at a furious pace, combining for 26 points in the first five minutes on Feb. 19. But after a three-pointer by Lady Pirates’ Ally Murphy trimmed a five-point deficit to just two, the Lady Knights exploded for 21 of the game’s next 23 points and cruised to a 70-32 victory.
“It’s a different speed [we play at],” Uniondale coach Danielle Nicol said of her program, which finished third in Conference AA-I. “We wanted to continue to push the ball, and that’s the style we play. [On defense] we play with a lot of pressure on the ball.”
“That’s a gear we normally don’t see in our conference,” Mepham coach Jim Mulvey said of his Lady Pirates, who won Conference AA-III and finished 15-3 overall. “We’ve got to hit the threes at home and we just didn’t.”
In a game where the Lady Knights’ Aliyah McDonald scored her 1,000th career point, she actually played more of a facilitator role during the game-changing run, rather than scorer, even though she finished with a game-high 24 points and 17 rebounds. She left the scoring to teammate and co-captain Jayda Hyatt, who scored 14 of her 23 points in the first half and also pulled down 15 boards.
“When we need her to score, she scores,” Nicol said of McDonald. “When we need her to pass, she passes. Jayda was phenomenal today. I think she was the catalyst today.”
As the minutes ticked off in the fourth quarter, Mulvey pulled each of his five seniors off individually during breaks in play, and all received standing ovations from the packed crowd. Of the group, Nicole Castaldo, a three-time All-County honoree, led the way in the scoring column with 10 points. Senior Mary Galgano also earned All-County honors, while Samantha Hishmeh was an All-Class honoree. Cristina Riebl and Alexis Lemanski also capped their careers to the loud cheers.