Written by Ronald Scaglia, Rscaglia@antonnews.com Friday, 15 March 2013 00:00
A terrific basketball season for the Massapequa varsity basketball team, a fantastic season, came to a heartbreaking conclusion as the Chiefs were defeated by East Sachem 55-50 in the Long Island Class AA Championship game held at Hofstra University. Massapequa was tenacious throughout, and despite falling behind early, the Chiefs battled a tough East Sachem team throughout the game, However, the lead built by East Sachem proved too difficult to overcome and the Chiefs were dealt their only loss of the season.
Lauren Van Buren, one of the team’s leaders, got Massapequa off to a good start two and a half minutes into the game. Van Buren pulled down her own rebound and put it back for the first points of the game. It was the first of 19 points in the game for Van Buren, who led all players on both teams in scoring. However, that would be the only lead Massapequa would hold in the game. Sachem East’s Katie Doherty scored 10 points in the first quarter and Massapequa trailed 15-4, before rallying to close the deficit to nine points at the end of the first quarter.
For the rest of the game, Massapequa continuously clawed back to overcome the early deficit. Late in the first half, Van Buren made a nice steal and Olivia Batista finished the play with a basket in the other side of the court, and the Chiefs had cut the deficit to five. However, Sachem East responded and led 23-16 at the half.
The Chiefs scored four of the first six points of the third quarter, but Sachem East responded once more and would expand the lead. Tenaciously, the Chiefs dug in and continued to battle, trying to chip away the lead. Melanie Hingher got Massapequa to within four points late in the fourth quarter, only to have Sachem East answer and widen Massapequa’s deficit back to six points. A three-point shot by Rachel Sieber got the Chiefs to within three points with less than a minute to play. However, Massapequa could not get any closer and watched as Sachem East celebrated the Long Island title.
While the loss is disappointing, Massapequa’s season was anything but that. The Chiefs rolled off nineteen consecutive victories, and easily tore through all opponents to capture the Nassau Class AA Championship. Following that victory, Massapequa Coach Shari Roessler commented that the team was motivated to get back to the county title game in which they had been defeated in last year. Their opponents should be on guard, that the Chiefs have something to motivate them when the basketballs start dribbling next year. Until then, there is still the glory of a county title, which is a tremendous achievement.