A career night by Emily Rodriguez, which included five three pointers, helped Hewlett’s girls’ basketball team defeat Nassau Conference A-II rival Lawrence, 55-47, last Friday night. The host Lady Bulldogs who have struggled offensively as of late, exploded early with 36 first half points.
“The first quarter we came out really hot, and we rode that pretty much the rest of the game,” Hewlett girls’ basketball head coach Frank Viggiano said.
Rodriguez finished with a career-high 28 points in the win. The senior guard says she usually does not look to shoot from behind the arc, but came out firing from deep, and sparked her team’s first-half outburst that led to Hewlett avenging a 15-point loss to Lawrence in the first meeting.
“I was very motivated to beat them this game, because they’re our rivals,” Rodriguez said. “I was more confident this game to shoot (from the outside).”
The Bulldogs got secondary scoring from up and down their lineup in the victory. Kristen Decicco and Alex Levy each had six points, and Sabrina Feldman and Kim Smith each finished with four points.
Feldman was also a major presence on the defense, finishing with eight blocks on the night. “I’ve never had a kid that’s blocked shots like her,” Viggiano said. “She’s unbelievable at that, and she’s 5’8.”
While Viggiano’s team was off to a hot shooting start, Lawrence struggled to get shots to fall early on, and as a result found itself down by 18 at the half. The Lady Golden Tornadoes came out with more defensive intensity and better shooting in the second half, but were unable to dig out of there early game hole.
“We had a number of times where we had wide open makeable shots, and they just didn’t fall tonight,” Lawrence head coach George Klein said. “You got to put four quarters together. You can’t just rely on comebacks.”
Senior Dina Goldstein was the leading scorer for the Golden Tornadoes, finishing with 21 points, including seven made free throws. Nayalise Montilla, who was one of three freshmen in her team’s starting lineup, also finished in double digits when she scored 10 points.
Viggiano said the rematch went pretty much the opposite of the first meeting on Jan. 7, when his squad lost to Lawrence 51-36.
“Last time we were flat, and they started out on fire, and hit every single shot,” Viggiano said. “Tonight we were the team that came out hot. We were excited, and that energized us early on.”
Both Hewlett and Lawrence have young squads, which have experienced some growing pains this season. The Lady Bulldogs are 2-9 in conference play, while the Lady Golden Tornadoes are 3-8.
“The younger players are coming along,” said Klein. “It’s basically been two steps forward, one step back all year. But, we’ve been competitive in most of our games, and they play hard.”
Both teams have three games remaining.