SOMERS, N.Y.— Somers guard Hannah Angelini wasn’t feeling well.
You wouldn’t have known that from the way she performed on the court in the first half as she dominated the game and scored 16 points to help the Tuskers open up a 27-21 halftime lead against defending Section 1 Class A champion Rye.
When the teams came out to start the second half, however, Angelini was not on the court. It was time for someone else to step up, and that’s exactly what Jackie Penzo and Liv Lipski did for the Tuskers.
With Lipski and Penzo leading the way, Somers kept up the pressure and increased its lead as the Tuskers pulled away for a 60-39 statement victory over Rye in Somers’ home opener.
“We knew she had been leading the team and controlling the game, so we knew we had to work as a team to finish it,” Lipski said. “I knew she would be back, but we knew all of us had to come through and not just one person. We had it from the beginning and had to keep it going to the end.”
Angelini scored 16 points in the first half and was unstoppable. She didn’t come back in until there were just over three minutes left in the third quarter. When she did return, she calmly sank a 3-pointer to put the Tuskers up 38-25.
Those were the last points she would score as she finished with 19 overall to lead the Tuskers. She didn’t need to score any more as her teammates kept it up and rolled to the victory.
“I was overheated and not feeling too well. I’ve had a cold, but I had to help my team get the ‘W,’” Angelini said. “We have such a great team—so much talent—and we’ve been working hard to get everyone involved. My teammates really picked it up. We kept the pressure on and we weren’t about to let up. [Rye] won the section last year, so this is a big win for us.”
Lipski scored 13 points in the second half and finished with 16 points overall. Penzo scored nine points in the second half and finished with 13 points overall as they took over with Angelini out.
Somers led 44-30 at the end of the third quarter, and Penzo and Lipski combined to score the first 13 points of the fourth quarter for the Tuskers.
“Jackie Penzo was unbelievable today and Liv Lipski—if you give her an inch to shoot she’ll kill you,” Somers coach Marc Hattem said. “Hannah didn’t feel well, and when she was out, the nice thing is there’s a lot of girls who can put the ball in the basket for us. They played great and I’m just happy for them. They’ve been working hard and I’m a lucky coach.”
Danielle DiCintio finished with seven points for Somers. Danielle Cuchiarella and Nikki Fiorino each added a pair, while Isabella Rukaj had one point to round out the scoring for the Tuskers, who improved to 2-1.
It all added up to an impressive performance as the Tuskers rolled to the victory over the defending champs.
“Rye is what we want to be, coach Dennis Hurley is one of the best in the section and they’re a great team,” Hattem said. “I just wanted to go out there and compete today. At least show something to give a glimmer of hope that we can compete with the teams like Rye and Peekskill, and my kids exceeded the expectations today. They played great and now we just have to keep getting better.”
The Tuskers hope to carry the momentum forward when they take to the court next Friday, Dec. 16-17, as they host the 21st annual Michael DePaoli Memorial Tournament. The Tuskers open the tournament against local rival Mahopac at 7 p.m. on Friday.