SHRUB OAK, N.Y.— Jess Ascencao (8 points, 11 rebounds) hit a buzzer-beating layup to give Lakeland’s girls basketball squad a thrilling 53-51 victory against visiting Peekskill on Jan. 17.
“We called a timeout and coach [Miranda] Lustig drew up a new play on the spot,” Ascencao said. “The way the defense set up, it didn’t work so we all just cut off in the general directions she told us to. I got the ball, was able to beat my girl and pull up for a layup before hitting the girl set up on the block. When I was going up I saw the shot clock say .3 seconds. When I landed, I turned and didn’t know how to react until the whole team was jumping on me. It was a great feeling.”
Alexa Cole said Ascencao’s hard work in practice shows up in the games.
“She’s not just a great teammate but a leader and I really look up to her,” Cole said.
Cole led Lakeland with 22 points.
“Tonight was a huge win for us,” Cole said. “We all really wanted pay back Peekskill for beating us twice last year. When Jess made the shot I was just as much in shock as her. It was such a good feeling to pull out such a close win.”
A win that wouldn’t have happened without Cole’s big game.
“Alexa really stepped up for us tonight and had a huge game,” Ascencao said. “Every time the ball got in her hands she was looking to drive the baseline for a layup. She always works hard and it paid off big tonight when we needed it.”
Lakeland (9-3) beat visiting John Jay-Cross River 41-29 on Jan. 20, led by Cole (19 points) and Colleen Walsh (10 points).
Yorktown won at Fox Lane 44-43 on Jan. 18 on Mackenzie Merson’s shot.
“The score was 43-42 with 30 seconds left with Fox Lane in the lead when Mackenzie Merson drove to the basket, hitting her shot which put us up by one and allowed us to win the game,” Yorktown senior captain Emily Nigro said.
Kat Severino (14 points) and Nigro (12 points) led Yorktown.
“This was a huge win for us because Fox Lane is a tough team and this win kept us undefeated in league games,” Nigro said. “We knew our first-half performance wasn’t up to our standards so we had to go into the second half with high energy and that’s what we did.”
The Huskers lost to visiting Mount Vernon 44-41 in the championship game of the 20th Annual George Budries Basketball Tournament on Jan. 16, led by Severino (19 points).
“I really didn’t think a lot at the line,” said Severino, who made 9 of 10 foul shots in the fourth quarter. “I shoot a ton of them at practice so it’s like, just get up there and knock them down.”
Yorktown (7-5) trailed 27-15 early in the third quarter but went on a 12-3 run to cut the visitors’ lead to 30-27 at the end of the third quarter.
“We got back in the game because we played really hard defensively and were able to pass the ball around and find a teammate that was able to knock down a shot,” Severino said.
Severino and teammate Alyssa Francese (13 points) were both named to the all-tournament team.