The Eastport South Manor girls basketball team outlasted Westhampton Beach, 35-30, in double overtime to win a marathon of a game on Thursday, January 16, at Westhampton Beach.
With her team trailing by two points, ESM junior Allyson Tolken hit a three-pointer to give the Lady Sharks a 31-30 lead with 1:25 remaining in the second overtime. Juniors Sam Giacolone and Nijay Brown then hit all of their free throws to make up the final score.
ESM head coach Steve Giacolone explained that Westhampton Beach was focusing solely on his daughter, junior Samantha Giacolone, after she made two consecutive three-pointers to start the second half. So he needed someone else to step up—and Tolken eventually came up big for her team.
The victory kept the playoff hopes alive for ESM (2-5 in League V play, 5-8 overall) but it won’t be easy. The Lady Sharks now have to win four of its final five league games to clinch a postseason berth.
Coach Giacolone said he wasn’t surprised last week’s game went to double overtime, being that Westhampton Beach came from behind to win in the waning seconds at ESM earlier this season.
“Anytime you get a victory, it’s nice,” he said. “I needed some of the other kids to step up and hit a shot. Allyson is a good three-point shooter. Hopefully, making that shot will give her the confidence to hit some more.”
After calling timeouts to set plays up, both teams failed to get a shot off in regulation. Then both teams scored just three points each in the first four-minute overtime. Westhampton Beach head coach Mike Polan explained that his team was lucky to even be in the game, being that it missed nearly a dozen of open layups throughout the game and went 6 for 17 from the foul line.
Westhampton Beach (2-5 in League V, 6-6 overall) is in the same boat as the Lady Sharks, having to win four of its next five to make the playoffs.
“You make just some of those layups, the offense starts clicking—it’s a momentum swing, especially in a close game,” he said. “But [ESM] took advantage of our missed shots. And to shoot that poorly from the free throw line, that’s just unacceptable. Even if we shoot 50 percent, we win by three. It’s something we practice every day, that’s what’s frustrating.”
Giacolone finished with 12 points, while Tolken had seven. Brown had 10 rebounds. Westhampton Beach junior Kathleen Mensch scored 10 points, while senior Lauren Smith had eight.
Other than the competitively played double-overtime game, it was a rough week for both ESM and Westhampton Beach. The Lady Sharks lost, 48-27, at Comsewogue on January 14, while the Lady Hurricanes lost, 56-31, at home that same night to Islip. Westhampton Beach also lost a non-league game, 37-28, at home to Miller Place on Saturday.
The Lady Canes found themselves down 24-9 at halftime against Islip last week. They rallied in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 11 points, but they exerted so much energy to come back that by the fourth quarter they became tired, and Islip widened the gap again.
Westhampton Beach was without Smith for its game against Miller Place. She suffered a slight concussion in the loss to ESM, so Polan opted to keep her out. Freshman Camryn Bancroft stepped up in Smith’s absence with five points and 12 rebounds, which is a season high for the Lady Canes this season.
Polan is still hoping for a playoff spot going into this week’s games. “The girls will fight until the end, regardless if we make the playoffs or not,” he said. “They always play hard, always practice hard. I would feel bad if we weren’t able to get some Ws and slide into the playoffs, but at that point, we’d go in as the eighth seed and have to play someone like Harborfields or Elwood/John Glenn. But the goal every season is to make the playoffs.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: ESM—Tuesday, 1/21, vs. Islip; Tuesday, 1/28, vs. Sayville, 4 p.m. Westhampton Beach—Tuesday, 1/21, at Sayville; Thursday, 1/23, vs. Rocky Point, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 1/28, at Harborfields, 6:30 p.m.