HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Paige McGuire had 14 points to lead all scorers as Hasbrouck Heights defeated New Milford, 41-26, Friday evening in an independent girls' basketball game in Hasbrouck Heights.
“That was a big win for us,” Hasbrouck Heights head coach Mike Kilgallen stated after the game. “We have had some injuries lately, and some girls have been asked to take on extra responsibilities, given extra minutes. Tonight they stepped up to the challenge.
“Tonight, Chiara (Alvarez) and Sam (Lahullier) really stepped up.”
Lahullier, normally the first player off the bench, was starting in place of injured point guard Veronica Legasp. Alvarez became the sixth man. Alvarez responded with nine points, and Lahullier had five, as well as helping the Lady Aviators on the boards.
The Lady Aviators jumped out to an early lead, as Lahullier hit one-of-two from the line, and Gaby Solis scored inside to give Hasbrouck Heights a 3-0 lead. But New Milford bounced back with four straight points from Beliah Otero, taking a 4-3 lead with 3:18 remaining in the first quarter.
Devon Sonzogni responded for the Lady Aviators with a bucket to retake the lead, and Otero responded 15 seconds later for a 6-5 lead. It would be the last lead New Milford would have in the game.
Alvarez scored to give Hasbrouck Heights a 7-5 lead, and McGuire hit back-to-back baskets to stretch the lead to 11-6. Lahullier scored with four seconds remaining in the quarter for a 13-6 first quarter lead.
New Milford rallied to start the second, as Denisse Obando scored a pair of baskets to cut the lead to 13-10. Alvarez had a three-point play to push the lead back to six, cutting the New Milford rally, as the Lady Aviators took a 19-13 lead into halftime.
New Milford opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run cut the lead to 26-24, but McGuire answered with a three-pointer to once again cut over the New Milford rally. Bella Maniago scored to cut the lead to 29-26, as play started getting sloppy at both ends of the courts.
“At times, you could see that it was too very young teams out there,” said Kilgallen. The Lady Aviators do not have a senior on the roster, and the only junior, Legaspi, was on the bench in street clothes.
But the Lady Aviators weathered the storm, running off the last 12 points of the game for the 41-26 victory.
“I am proud of the tenacity that we showed on defense tonight,” Kilgallen said. “It is the best defense we have seen since the beginning of the season."
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