MAHOPAC, N.Y.— With three key seniors returning from injury, the Mahopac girls basketball team is back in full swing and notched two-straight wins last week.
In a back-and-forth rivalry matchup with visiting Arlington on Thursday, Jan. 12, Mahopac pulled away in the fourth quarter to win by the score of 70-56 in front of an electric crowd.
“It was really fun to beat them and go hard the whole game on our home court,” senior forward Allison Reilly said. “I was really happy that the girls played well and together. It was our best game of basketball. We passed a lot and really clicked this game.”
Finding themselves down 33-31 at halftime, Mahopac buckled down on defense while continuing its crisp offensive flow in the second half.
Senior point guard Amanda Geyer dribbled underneath the basket before spotting junior forward Natalie Scanlon for a layup, which put the Indians up four points with a minute left in the third quarter.
Although it spread the wealth smoothly all game long, Mahopac only led 55-52 after Arlington senior Cassidy Clay drained a 3-pointer with five minutes remaining in the game.
The persistent Indians answered by piecing together a 15-4 run to finish the game over the same Admirals they defeated in the first round of last season’s sectionals.
Mahopac (6-6) not only defended the paint with authority, but also netted 9 of 10 free-throw attempts during the fourth quarter.
“We did well on the press today,” Mahopac coach Chuck Scozzafava said. “I felt in this game that we wore them down. We just got better as the game went on. We got some steals and turnover scores, which we haven’t been getting. That is key to winning ball games, and our defense was a lot better too.”
Junior guard Zina McInerney lofted a fast break pass to junior forward Claire Felix, who weaved through the defense for a layup and made it a seven-point cushion with four minutes left.
Senior forward Amanda McCarney quickly dished to junior Siobhan Hynes down low for a layup, as she made the free throw following the foul to extend the Indians’ lead to 10 points with just three minutes to spare.
It was nothing but a group effort, but Felix set the tone once again with 20 points. Geyer and Reilly scored 12 points apiece. McInerney and Hynes each tallied nine points, while McCarney contributed with seven.
“What I was most proud of was our girls coming off the bench today,” Scozzafava said. “You had Sammi [Colatruglio], Katie [McDonough], Natalie [Scanlon], Allison [Reilly]. They gave us solid minutes and did not give up on plays. Those things are very key for us.”
A day earlier, they knocked off host John Jay-East Fishkill, 40-29, in another league game. McInerney starred with 11 points and Felix registered nine. Junior guard Katie McDonough had six points and McCarney put up five.
Mahopac faces rival Carmel when the Rams come to the high school at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20.
“Hopefully things are starting to turn for us,” Scozzafava said. “Just one game at a time. You want the season to build and to just keep getting better and better to peak into the playoffs.”