Younger Players Step Up In Win Over Wyandanch

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What stood out in the Southampton girls basketball team’s 53-30 home win over Wyandanch on Friday night wasn’t the margin of victory but rather the names that showed up at the top of the box score.

The young Lady Mariners squad got past the winless Lady Warriors with some solid contributions from its less experienced players, instead of relying heavily on its lone returning starter from last season, senior Noelle Hodges, as has been the case for most of this season.

Sophomore Saimona Ward had the best night of her young varsity career, leading the team with 15 points while also grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out an assist. Freshman guard Chloe Scheuch had a great night as well, scoring 10 points. Her classmate and backcourt companion, Brook-Lyn Walker, added eight points, while Caitlyn Pressly chipped in with six points and Pauline Delacruz had five.

Hodges and fellow starter Sydney Katz, the only other returning varsity player this year, played only six minutes each as the rest of their teammates proved more than capable of taking care of Wyandanch. Hodges managed to score a point a minute, finishing with six, while Katz added two points. Southampton had a 12-2 lead after the first quarter and was up 32-6 at halftime in a game where the outcome was never in doubt.

Southampton head coach Richard “Juni” Wingfield said he was more than happy to send Hodges and Katz to the bench early for several reasons. He wanted to see his younger players find a way to win without the veterans, and also wanted to be respectful to a Wyandanch team that has struggled to compete this year and has been the victim of some severely lopsided scores against other teams in the league.

“We wanted to make sure we didn’t add insult to injury,” Wingfield said, pointing out that Wyandanch’s coach told him she felt that other teams had been running up the score on her team. “It gave our younger girls a chance to figure out how to get something done.”

Wingfield said it was nice to see his young players find success with what they’ve been working on in practice, and that doing it in a game situation was a big step in the right direction.

“I told them, ‘Don’t be afraid to do the things you work on in practice,’” Wingfield recalled.

Before beating Wyandanch, the Lady Mariners ground out a 45-41 win at Southold/Greenport in a non-league game on January 7. The Lady Mariners overcame a slow start where they were down 13-6 after the first quarter.

But the story of the game was Hodges, who had a career-high 33 points to carry her team to the win. Wingfield noted that the 33 points was not only a career high for Hodges, but it was the most points a player has scored for the Lady Mariners in his more than two decades of coaching.

Hodges was particularly clutch in the second half, scoring 20 of her points in that frame. 
With nine seconds left in the game, she hit a pair of free throws that broke a 41-41 tie 
and gave Southampton the lead for good. She also added six steals and three assists. Katz finished with six points and 10 rebounds.

The wins moved Southampton to 2-2 in League VII, 5-3 overall.

ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 1/14, at Mattituck, 5:45 p.m.; Thursday, 1/16, at Hampton Bays, 4 p.m.; Friday, 1/24, at Babylon, 6:15 p.m.

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