Written by Vinny Messana, email@example.com Thursday, 16 January 2014 12:19
When a team is struggling to find consistency, they look for their star player to take charge and swing the momentum back in their favor. That is precisely what junior Sam Auricchio did for the Garden City girls basketball team in their 61-41 victory over Westbury.
“She means everything to this team,” said Head Coach Anthony Sparacia. “She has really become an elite player because she is an all around player, whereas she used to just be a shooter, now she’s going to the rim and the free throw line. She shoots the ball lights out from the perimeter—she makes us go,” he added.
Auricchio scored 26 of her 37 points in the second half, which allowed the Trojans to pull away from the Dragons. She wasted no time in hitting a three pointer immediately following halftime, and followed that up with a layup off of a steal to put the Trojans up by nine. They did not allow the Dragons to get any closer than that for the remainder of the game.
“When I got those three fouls, I was a little iffy, but then I started getting hot,” said Auricchio. “I was a little upset about the fouls early on and just wanted to get it back with points,” she added. Playing with frustration certainly benefited her ability to score.
The first quarter was a struggle for both teams. The Trojans were playing a full-court press which was hindering the Dragons rhythm on offense. It was leading to a bevy of turnovers but the Trojans were not able to convert on many fast-break opportunities. Despite their advantage in time of possession, Westbury trailed 14-8 at the end of the first quarter.
“Fouls,” said Coach Sparacia, in regards to the struggles of the first half. “Sam only played eight minutes because of the three fouls, so that was a big, big part of it,” he added.
The Dragons were able to get on a bit of a run in the second quarter, thanks to solid play by Kayla Bomani who scored 11 points in the first half. The defense was also being more aggressive which was forcing the Trojans into uncomfortable shots. At the end of the first half, the score remained close at 21-17.
The second half was a much different story. Auricchio hit her stride which really allowed the Trojans to run away with the lead. Once they had the lead, Westbury could not score at a pace that would unnerve Garden City.
“We would’ve had a much better chance if we were at full strength”, said Westbury’s Assistant Coach, in regards to the team’s injuries. “I think that’s what made the difference,” she added. “They do have a very good player over there,” in regards to Auricchio. “She’s a scorer.”