The monkey is officially off their back.
The Westhampton Beach girls basketball team got its first win of the season on January 13, beating Bayport/Blue Point 32-27 at home. The winning streak ended at one, as the Lady Hurricanes lost 51-28 to Mt. Sinai at home on Friday to move to 1-7 in League VI, 1-12 overall.
Lady Canes head coach Mike Polan said that while his team didn’t do much on offense against Bayport, a strong overall team defense and timely scoring were enough to get the elusive win.
“Our defense was strong; we only gave up 27 points,” he said. “It’s definitely a good feeling to get a win.”
Polan pointed out two plays in particular down the stretch that he thought were crucial in the win in what was a close game. With less than two minutes remaining, the Lady Canes missed a free throw while holding onto a slim three-point lead, but Marinna Jones grabbed the rebound, put the ball in the basket and was fouled. She completed the three-point play to give her team a more comfortable six-point advantage. With 35 seconds remaining, senior Nicole Komorowski scored on a driving layup off a pass from freshman Kristen Polan that gave Westhampton Beach the final margin.
“It was a big momentum swing,” Polan said of Jones’s three-point play. “If they got the rebound, they could have tied it with a three.”
In the final minute of the game, the Lady Phantoms used a full court press defense, but Kristen Polan’s long pass broke the trap and Komorowski connected for the decisive layup.
“That really put it away,” coach Polan said.
While the playoffs are all but out of reach for the Lady Canes in what has been a rebuilding year, Polan said he was pleased to see his players on the positive end of the final score.
“They were happy,” he said. “I told them I don’t want to go through the whole season without a win.”
The joy was short-lived, as starting point guard Katie Cardo suffered a broken finger in the game and was forced to sit out the next matchup with Mt. Sinai. Haley Laube started at point guard in Cardo’s place, and both Komorowski and Polan shared some of the ball handling duties, but ultimately, the Lady Canes could not carry the momentum from their win into the next game. Mt. Sinai’s Emily Bongiorno was deadly from three-point range, connecting on five shots from long range to finish with 21 points, leading all scorers. The Lady Canes fell behind 27-14 at halftime and could not recover.
“We didn’t really shoot well from the floor, and they started out really hot,” Polan said. “Unfortunately, we have to use a defense that keeps us out of foul trouble, but if the other team is shooting well from the perimeter, it makes it difficult for us. They made their shots and we didn’t.”
Polan gave credit to the Mustangs, saying he expects them to make the playoffs, but he said he was hoping his team would keep it closer than the 23-point final margin.
“We’re just struggling offensively,” he said. “Against Bayport, we played really good defense, but you have to put the ball in the basket. The girls are playing hard, I can’t fault them for that. It’s just discouraging when you can’t put the ball in the basket.”
Komorowski led the Lady Canes with 14 points against Mt. Sinai while Polan finished with eight points.
Westhampton Beach was scheduled to face a tough Amityville team on Tuesday and will host East Hampton on Thursday at 6:15 p.m. The Lady Bonackers have beaten Westhampton Beach twice this season, once in an early season tournament and once in a league game, but they too have struggled to be competitive in league play this year, and Polan said he believes his squad can get a win against them.