Despite winning their third consecutive conference title, the Mepham Girls Basketball team was eliminated from the playoffs Tuesday when they lost to Uniondale, 70-32.
Uniondale took advantage of its noticeable size advantage early, crashing the boards for second and third changes. This led to fouls on the Pirates or easy put-back points for the Knights.Like Bellmore Patch and Merrick Patch on Facebook.
"We knew we had an advantage there," Uniondale Coach Danielle Nicol said. "We needed to dominate that."
After the game was relatively even early on, the Knights went on a 9-0 run to end the first quarter with a 23-12 lead. The second quarter was when they pulled away, holding the Pirates to just seven points in the period. Uniondale relied on their center Jayda Hyatt, who scored 18 of her 23 points in the first half.
"We knew we had control of the game when we handled the boards," she said. "Not allowing second chances for them, as well as getting second chances for ourselves is important."
At the half, Uniondale led 39-19. When the second half started, the Pirates upped the defensive intensity, which led to a couple of Uniondale turnovers, but the Knights upped the tempo, and that proved too much for Mepham.
"They were just on another level," Mepham Coach James Mulvey said. "You have to give them credit."
Uniondale kept control throughout the second half, outscoring Mepham by a 31-13 margin, but Mulvey was proud with the effort his team gave.
"They played really hard," Mulvey said, adding that he told the girls he was proud of them after the game ended.
Mulvey also inserted the five seniors that played their last game for Mepham, and took them out one-by-one so they could get a standing ovation from the capacity crowd.
"That was really special," Mulvey added. "None of us will forget that."
For Mepham, Megan Anderson led the way with 11 points, and Nicole Castaldo had 10. The Knights were led Aliyah McDonald with 24 and Hyatt with 23.What do you think of Mepham's season and their future looking ahead? Tell us in the comments section below.
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