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Freeport buzzes past Oceanside

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Freeport hit buzzer-beating treys to close each of the first three quarters at Oceanside last Friday night, including a pair from freshman Taneece Wooden, and made certain there was no need for a fourth.

That’s because the Lady Red Devils shot the lights out in the third quarter, scoring 30 points to blow open a tight game on the way to a 72-45 victory in Nassau Conference AA-1 girls’ basketball. They led by just a point two minutes into the second half.

“We didn’t stick to our game plan in the first half and they fought back,” Freeport head coach Meredith Jones said. “We played better defense and made better choices with our outside shots in the second half. We got the ball inside and we also scored on some fast breaks.”

Senior Taylor Abraham poured in a game-high 25 points, while Wooden and senior Tyler Hawkins added 15 apiece as Freeport snapped a two-game skid and improved to 5-3 in conference play and 8-5 overall. Oceanside (1-6 in AA-1, 2-11 overall) received 18 points from senior Gina Contorno and 10 from junior Jenna Morgan.

“I don’t think they missed a shot in the third quarter, but we didn’t make it hard enough on them,” Oceanside head coach Jared Stoler said. “For some reason, we stopped doing what we were doing in the first two quarters. We were breaking the press and showed patience, then all of a sudden we were playing too fast and out of control.”

The Lady Sailors were very much in it after battling back from an 18-9 deficit after the first quarter. They led briefly late in the second and trailed 29-28 early in the third when the Lady Red Devils caught fire. Hawkins had nine points in the third, including a dynamic three-point play with two minutes left to increase the lead to 13. Abraham had seven points in the quarter, including going 4-for-4 on free throws, and freshman point guard Anayah Lloyd (nine points) nailed a crowd-pleasing trey set up by Hawkins, who dove to keep the ball inbounds and turned a turnover into an assist.

“I knew we were scoring but I had no idea we had 30 in the quarter,” Jones said. “We’ve had some games we needed three quarters to get to 30. It just shows what we’re capable of.”

Wooden capped the quarter with her second straight buzzer-beating trey to give Freeport a comfortable 55-38 lead heading into the fourth. She banked in a long shot at the end of the half for a 25-24 lead after Oceanside enjoyed a strong second quarter highlighted by three-pointers from Morgan, sophomore Natalie Medugno and eighth-grader Brianna Amenta.

“The second half was a perfect storm of them not missing and us giving them extra shots when they did miss,” Stoler said.

With five games remaining, Stoler didn’t rule out a playoff run. “If we beat some teams we can beat, 5-7 can get us in,” he said.

Freeport is part of a four-team race for second place — with Massapequa, Uniondale and Farmingdale — behind unbeaten Syosset.