The shifts and momentum changes in a high school girls basketball game can be sudden and unexpected. Without warning, a game can turn on the drop of a basket or a pass. It’s a fickle sport that way.
Shoreham-Wading River’s game against Miller Place on Thursday was a case in point. It was like a series of mini games within a game, a three-act play, if you will.
Act I: The first half is all Shoreham, with the Wildcats taking the lead from the start and bringing a 13-point halftime lead with them into the locker room at halftime.
Act II: Coach Joe Read’s Miller Place squad looks like an entirely different team in the second half. With senior guard Milan Hatcher acting as the catalyst, the Panthers find the resources to pull themselves back into the game. Kaylee Deleva banked in a 3-point shot to cap a 20-7 run, tying the score at 40-40. It’s a new game.
Act III: The Wildcats then ran off 12 straight points of their own to essentially ice things for a 56-46 victory. They never allowed Miller Place to take the lead once in the Coaches vs. Cancer game at Shoreham-Wading River High School.
The win, which snapped a three-game losing streak, puts the Wildcats (7-4, 4-3 Suffolk County League VI) in a good position to secure a playoff spot. All they have to do is win two of their five remaining league games.
It was the eighth straight loss for Miller Place (2-9, 1-6), which needs to win all five of its last five league games in order to see the postseason.
But Miller Place may have lost a lot more than just a game. One of its players, senior Loren Librizzi, injured her right knee while taking a fall with 2 minutes 15 seconds to go in the game. She had to be carried off the court by Read and a trainer. After the game, Read said he did not know the extent of Librizzi’s injury.
Maddy Bottari and Mackenzie Zajac had 10 points each for the Wildcats, who held a 45-33 advantage in rebounds.
Danielle Bamnola brought Miller Place 15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists. Hatcher totaled 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists before fouling out with 1:18 left in the game.
Two other players had fouled out earlier in the fourth quarter, Miller Place’s Jackie Whimple and Shoreham’s Sophie Triandafils.
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River’s Lydia Kessel looks for a way around Miller Place’s Milan Hatcher. (Credit: Garret Meade)