Playing its first game in 15 days, Long Beach’s girls’ basketball team showed no signs of rust last Friday when it led from start-to-finish in a 49-32 victory over Conference AA-III rival Carey.
Junior Perri Steiner scored 16 points, going 8 of 12 from the floor, senior Molly Martin added 14 points, and senior Mary McDonagh chipped in 11 as the resilient Lady Marines improved to 2-0 in conference play and 3-1 overall. The young Lady Seahawks (1-3, 4-3) got a game-high 17 points from sophomore Victoria Porcasi.
“This was our most confident game so far,” Long Beach coach Kristin Ciccone said. “I was a little bit concerned about how we’d shoot the ball. It’s been a while since we played, and we’re practicing in a gym [Lindell Elementary School] with three hoops and four basketballs. The girls deserve a lot of credit.”
Carey, after being held to 11 first-half points, got its offense going in the third quarter behind Porcasi and senior Erin Gilroy, who sank five free throws. The hosts cut a 22-11 halftime deficit down to a five-point margin, 26-21, within the first two-and-a-half minutes of the second half as Porcasi, Gilroy and junior Kasey Ilardi combined for 10 points.
“Unfortunately we haven’t started games well,” Lady Seahawks coach Theresa Schmidt said. “We always have to make some sort of comeback.”
Long Beach used a 16-7 run to close the third quarter leading by a comfortable 14. Martin caught fire, scoring eight points, including a pair of treys, and setting up baskets by junior Shauna Spruiell and Steiner, the latter a buzzer-beater, to regain any lost momentum. “They hit a big shot each time we got close,” Schmidt said. “And we’re not as experienced as they are up front.”
Steiner, who had eight rebounds, and junior Liz Rourke (four points, eight rebounds) controlled the boards for the Lady Marines, who beat Bellmore-JFK in their conference opener. “I’ve been working a lot with Perri in the post,” Ciccone said of Steiner. “She’s not fading away from the basket, she’s going to the basket.”
Having Martin and McDonagh, two veterans in the backcourt, as floor generals can carry Long Beach a long way, Ciccone said. “Molly and Mary both handle the ball and shoot well,” Ciccone said. “We’re all on the same page and aiming for the playoffs. I keep telling the girls this is their year. Everyone is improving every day.”
In Porcasi, Carey boasts one of the top players in the conference. She’s scored at least 20 points in five of seven games, including 24 in a conference victory over Bellmore-JFK. “Victoria’s been great, but we also have to step up and start shooting,” Schmidt said. “We can’t just rely on one girl.”