Valley Stream South earned its first victory of the season last Friday in a hard-fought game against visiting Lynbrook, 42-33, in a Nassau Conference A-III girls’ basketball matchup.
Lynbrook dropped to 1-5 in the conference and 3-10 overall, while South improved to 1-6 in conference play and 1-13 overall.
South junior Janise Hernandez led all scorers with 21 points, including her team’s first 10 points. Hernandez had consistent success penetrating the Lady Owls’ defense for layups, especially in the first half.
“Janise has been the leader of our team, offensively,” VSS coach Daniel Drumm said. “She’s been our anchor. When she scores and plays defense like that we’re pretty tough.”
Lynbrook featured a balanced attack that saw six players contribute points, including 19 in the first half.
Down by three late in the first quarter, Lynbrook went on 9-0 run to take a 17-11 lead early in the second. The spurt, which was started by sophomore Ciara Gordon, featured two baskets by freshman Amanda DiGiorgio and three points by senior Olivia Cohn. The last basket by Cohn brought Drumm to call a timeout to refocus his team.
Following the timeout, the Lady Falcons responded by scoring 11 of the next 13 points to close out the half up 22-19. Freshman Uju Nwaigwe scored South’s final five points of the half, including an old fashioned three-point play where she sank a basket while getting fouled and then converted the ensuing free throw.
Each team had its troubles with turnovers, which was a key for both coaches entering the game. “We were trying to give them a little ball pressure to force a turnover, but obviously they surpassed us tonight,” Lynbrook coach Heather Manikas said. “We have to clean up our turnovers for our remaining games.”
Although the Lady Falcons got their first win, Drumm said there’s still plenty of work to be done. However, he added, playing fundamental basketball leads to positive results. “We still had some costly turnovers,” he said, “but we cut down about five to 10 turnovers that we normally do and we knocked down some foul shots.”