As the season nears the midway point in Nassau Conference IV, the Mineola High School girls basketball team has 2 wins and 3 losses. The conference opener was a tough road assignment against arch-rival Lynbrook. Although the very young Mustang squad played exceptional defense, the 4th ranked Owls pulled out a 43-33 win on the strength of a 12 to 4 fourth quarter run. Junior point guard Katherine Hock held Lynbrook's all-county guard, Jackie Grillo, to just three baskets. But, offense was Mineola's downfall. Several crucial shots were missed during Lynbrook's decisive run. Erin Cloghessy and Kim Rossi, the Lady Mustangs' only seniors, were the leading scorers with 7 and 6 points respectively.
Roslyn's 5 ft. 10 in. center, Jenea Lockley, was too much for Mineola to handle. Lockley scored 31 points in the visiting Bulldogs' overtime 54-43 win in a very exciting game. Junior Katherine Hock's 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter sent the game to overtime. But, Roslyn outscored the Lady Mustangs 12 to 1 in the extra session. Senior Kim Rossi's 12 points led the way for Mineola. Senior Erin Cloghessy and Hock added 11 points apiece. Rossi and sophomore forward Nicole McAllister were tough on the boards.
The Lady Mustangs got their first conference victory when they drilled visiting Bethpage 57 to 33. Mineola blew open a one-point game with a 20 to 4 run in the second quarter. Erin Cloghessy scored 12 of her game-high and career-high 21 points in that run. Junior guard Ashley O'Neill rang-up 11 points in an exceptional offensive display. Sophomore center Patty Ober and junior forward Erin Sanderleaf contributed with some tenacious defense.
Sewanhaka, the 3rd ranked squad in the conference, thumped Mineola in the Lady Mustangs next outing 50 to 24. Mineola was down 8 points after one quarter and 23 points at half-time of this road game. Coach Denise Zunno says the game was a case of everything Sewanhaka shot seemed to go in while Mineola seemed to have a lid on its basket. Erin Cloghessy led all scorers with 11 points.
Mineola's second victory came in a 37 to 28 decision over visiting Plainedge. The visitors held a one-point half-time lead. But, the Lady Mustangs put it together at both ends of the floor in the third quarter. While scoring 15 points, Mineola allowed Plainedge just 2 points in the stanza. Seniors Erin Cloghessy and Kim Rossi along with junior Katherine Hock set the pace. Cloghessy hit for a game high 16 points. Rossi scored 8 points, snatched 13 rebounds and rejected four Plainedge shots. Hock scored 8 points and came up with four steals. The Mustangs got great defensive effort from everyone who played and notched a much needed win.
So far, the Lady Mustangs have gotten solid game-in-and game-out performances from the four returning players from last year's team that reached the Elite Eight of the Nassau County Class-B playoffs - Seniors Cloghessy and Rossi and juniors Hock and O'Neill. Each game the others on the squad are getting better and playing tougher. Juniors Erin Sanderleaf and Mary Warren are getting some valuable varsity experience. Six sophomores and two freshmen make-up more than half of the squad. Coach Zunno has been surprised and pleased with the contributions from 10th graders Danielle Adams, Maureen Cloghessy, Liz Diaz, Nicole McAllister, Party Ober and Kristina Zunno along with freshman Kristen McNally and Nikole Tsabasis. The rebuilding project seems to be right on schedule.