Another great season for the Massapequa High School girls' basketball team has come to an end.
On Saturday, the Lady Chiefs lost to Syosset, 50-37 in the Nassau County Class AA title game. The loss ended a winning run through the playoffs, one that had earlier seen convincing wins over Calhoun and Baldwin.
During the title game, played at C.W. Post, Massapequa was unable to get its offense untracked in time to make a serious comeback in the second half. The game started off as a low-scoring affair, with Syosset taking a 6-4 lead in the first quarter. However, Syosset broke the game open with a 21-4 spurt in the second quarter, giving them a 27-8 advantage at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Lady Chiefs mounted a comeback, outscoring Syosset 14-7. But Massapequa failed to keep its momentum in the final frame. Syosset outscored Massapequa, 16-15 for the double-digit victory.
No Massapequa player scored in double digits. Jess DeNicola had nine points, followed by Nikki Daly who totaled seven points.
Syosset finished the regular season with a 15-4 record overall and an 11-1 mark in conference play. The title was the school's first ever in Class AA ball. Connie Simmons paced Syosset with 25 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists, and eight steals. Kim Ridini added 16 points and four assists for a Syosset squad that played stingy defense on the way to victory.
During the regular season, the Lady Chiefs were not quite the powerhouse they have been in recent years, but as the bell rang for playoff action, Massapequa played with their usual dominance.
The playoff season began with a Feb. 17 home game win over Baldwin, 57-37.
In that contest, Massapequa led throughout the game, and all players who saw action scored in the win. Jess DeNicola paced the balanced scoring attack with 19 points. Jackie Tierney added 9 points, while Casey Bartels and Nikki Daly chipped in with 7 points each.
The Lady Chiefs then advanced to the finals with an equally convincing 53-35 win over Calhoun.
In that game, Massapequa was never seriously challenged. The Lady Chiefs jumped out to an early lead, one they never relinquished. Massapequa led 12-8 at the end of the first quarter, and 20-15 at halftime.
Massapequa broke the game open in the third quarter, outscoring Calhoun 13-3 as the game picked up pace. The fourth quarter was high scoring also. Calhoun mounted a comeback of sorts, but the Lady Chiefs outscored their opponent, 20-17 for the convincing triumph.
Jess DeNicola was the star for Massapequa on both offense and defense. She scored 21 points on seven field goals and seven free throws, while adding a team-high 14 rebounds.
Kelly Ann Sullivan also scored in double figures, totaling 15 points on four field goals and seven free throws.
For the regular season, the one-two scoring punch of Jess DeNicola and Casey Bartels set the pace for much of the Massapequa offense. DeNicola had 302 points overall, while Casey Bartels scored 128 points. Bartels also had 14 three-pointers to lead the team in that category. In addition to scoring 122 field goals and knocking down 58 free throws, DeNicola pulled down 85 rebounds.
Also on the offensive side, KellyAnn Sullivan had 87 points and a team-leading 20 assists. Nikki Daly's 87 points included 11 three-points goals.