Lynbrook faced with more adversity


Seeking to avenge its only conference loss of the season and secure at least a share of the Nassau A-1 girls’ basketball title, Lynbrook exploded out of the gate Monday night at Plainedge and scored the game’s first dozen points.

The Owls led by as many as 14, but things began to unravel early in the second quarter and Lucy Younghans led a spirited comeback for Plainedge by scoring 15 of her game-high 24 points in the third to lead a 49-44 home victory. She was the Red Devils’ lone double-digit scorer.

Junior Cate Jennings (15) and freshman Jessie Vuotto (14) led Lynbrook, which fell for only the third time in 18 games. The Owls also lost junior All-County point guard Brooke Mazzei (broken foot) for at least three weeks.

“I’m devastated for her,” Lynbrook head coach Koren Pena said of Mazzei, who had recently returned from a four-game absence due to a broken nose. “We play at a different speed when she’s on the floor,” she added. “I had concern right away because she’s such a tough kid. When she broke her nose a little more than a month ago, she said she was fine. Tonight she told me she thought this was bad.”

Mazzei had a steal and end-to-end layup during the game-opening run and knocked down a pair of free throws early in the second quarter. Her 11.5 points per game will be missed along with her dynamic court presence, but the Owls “have been down this road before,” Pena noted.

“We have to get ready for Wantagh on Thursday and that’s our last conference game,” Pena said. “We were able to beat them the first time without Brooke. Everyone stepped up that day and that’s what we’ll need again and moving forward.”

The Owls (9-2 in A-1) won 20 games last season and reached the Nassau Class A championship, falling to Manhasset. They figure to be one of the top four seeds, depending on the Wantagh result, and will host a playoff game Feb. 17.

Plainedge boosted its playoff resume by completing a sweep of Lynbrook. Down 20-7 when Mazzei suffered the injury, the Red Devils scored 11 of the last 17 points of the first half to get within 26-18 at intermission.

Foul trouble became a factor for the Owls in the third quarter when Jennings picked up her fourth personal at the 3:47 mark and senior Mackenzie Casey’s fourth soon followed. In between, Kiera Reed gave Plainedge its first lead of the evening — 33-32 — and one it never relinquished with a traditional three-point play with 1:57 to go in the quarter.

Younghans capped a 10-point Plainedge run for a 38-32 lead before Vuotto and junior Sophia Dywer cut the margin back to two heading into the fourth quarter.

Peyton Wise and Younghans hit three-point daggers in the fourth to protect the lead for the Red Devils, who attempted 32 free throws and hit 17. The Owls were 12 of 20 from the line.