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Thursday, July 31, 2014
Balance, defense key for VSN
Peter Frutkoff/Herald
Senior Lauren Collura, left, had 18 points in Valley Stream North's 43-37 defeat to Conference A-IV rival Island Trees last week.

While Valley Stream North’s offense continues to be a work in progress, the Lady Spartans’ defensive effort has led the way to six wins in 10 games including a methodical 28-12 Conference A-IV victory over visiting Roosevelt last Friday night.

“It might not be picture-perfect, but we’re getting the job done and finding ways to win most nights,” coach Geoff O’Connell said. “I anticipated a lot of learning to take place this season, and we’re learning every game.

“Tonight was a challenge because Roosevelt plays defense different than any other team,” he added. “They use a 1-1-3 that forces you to move the ball around the perimeter and either take outside shots or try to force the ball inside.”

Senior Lauren Collura, who ranks among Nassau County’s leaders in three-point field goals with 23, drained three against Roosevelt for a game-high nine points. Four other Lady Spartans — Alexis Contreras, Julia LoSchiavo, Sarah Miller and Luci Ruddick — chipped in four points apiece as they improved to 3-2 in conference play. “We might not be scoring as much as we’d like to, but the balance we’re getting is a positive,” O’Connell said. “We don’t have an overwhelming scorer, but we’re getting a bunch of kids into the scoring column.”

Collura, who is averaging 9.2 points per game, poured in a career-high 18 in a loss at Island Trees on Jan. 8. “She’s really stepped up,” O’Connell said. “She hit some big threes tonight and was right around the rim on some others.”

North led 10-4 after the first quarter and extended its advantage to 17-8 at halftime. And it continued its dominance in the fourth, outscoring the Lady Rough Riders by a 5-1 margin. “We’ve been strong in the fourth quarter all season,” O’Connell said. “The girls never give up.”

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