Scoring the only 12 points of the first quarter set the tone for No. 9 South Side as it became the fourth successful road team in the Nassau Class A girls’ basketball playoffs Feb. 20, prevailing over No. 8 Mepham, 52-37.
Sophomore Bridget Basile led all scorers with 13 points and senior Katie McMahon added 10, including a 6-for-6 effort from the foul line in the fourth quarter, as the Lady Cyclones (15-5) advanced to face top-seeded Floral Park in the quarterfinals. Sophomore Riley Clark scored nine of her 11 points in the first half for the Lady Pirates (14-6), who captured the Conference A1 title and entered the playoffs on a six-game winning streak.
“We couldn’t have hoped for a better first quarter but at the same time we talked about how were we going to react when they made runs,” South Side head coach Dan Ferrick said. “Mepham’s a well-coached team and this is a tough gym for a visiting team. When they got within 14-7 early in the second quarter, I thought we handled it well.”
In what was a typical night at the offense for Ferrick’s balanced squad, all 12 Lady Cyclones played and nine found their way onto the scoresheet. Juniors Sydney Rathjen and Dana Allen chipped in seven points apiece, sophomore Emily Iacobellis had five and senior Arianna McLean added four.
“Everyone played and contributed,” Ferrick said. “I think we used nine girls in the first quarter alone.”
Clark scored nine of Mepham’s 13 first-half points and did all she could to keep the hosts within striking distance. Still, it trailed by 15 at intermission and could get no closer than 10 the rest of the way. Senior Lorrie Dellacroce and sophomore Hailey Guerrero had eight points apiece for the Lady Pirates, who missed 11 of 22 free throws.
“We were really hyped up and played with grit and determination,” Mepham head coach Jim Mulvey said. “If you look at our season, we had to hold teams under 40 to be successful.”
It took Mepham 8:23 before it finally got the zero off its side of the scoreboard on a Clark layup. South Side had five different scorers in the opening quarter, including a backdoor layup by Basile off a feed from senior point guard Theresa Kenny and a trey by Basile. “You could feel this game definitely had a higher intensity level than the regular season,” Kenny said. “We were ready for it.”
McMahon, Basile and Iacobellis all dialed long distance in the second quarter after Mepham showed some life and got within seven. Allen opened the third quarter with a trey and the Lady Cyclones were on their way to victory. They shot 17 of 27 from the line, which Ferrick said “he’ll take” considering their 50 percent rate on the season.
Guerrero scored all eight of her points in the third quarter but South Side still led 40-25 entering the fourth. The closest Mepham could get since late in the first was 47-37 with 2:09 remaining.
“We’ll see what else we can do,” Ferrick said. “We’ll roll the ball out there and try our best against Floral Park.”