YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Led by Ashley Zeolla’s dominant performance (17 points, 14 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 blocks), No. 15 Yorktown defeated No. 18 Nanuet, 50-34, on Feb. 15, in a Section 1 Class A out-bracket contest.
“We all wanted to win and it clearly showed on the court,” Zeolla said. “We also played with high intensity, heart and good decision making.”
In the win, host Yorktown (10-11) showed the ability to bounce back after losing their final two regular-season games.
“The aggression was there,” said Yorktown coach Brian Mundy. “We caused some problems with the press again, just getting them to make some bad decisions.”
The game started as a back and forth affair, with the Huskers leading, 9-8, at the end of the first quarter.
Yorktown started to take control of the game in the second quarter, when they outscored Nanuet, 13-5, to go up 22-13 at halftime.
“The first quarter was pretty sloppy for both teams,” said Yorktown’s Melissa Severino. “We came out in the second quarter more under control and valued each possession, which helped to limit turnovers. We also started to hit some shots.”
The Huskers continued to build up their lead, scoring 14 of the 23 points in the third quarter to go up 36-22 at the end of it.
“We didn’t force anything down low and passed the ball out for open shots,” Zeolla said. “It was important for us to take control earlier so we didn’t panic.”
Zeolla and Severino turned it up after halftime, with Zeolla scoring 12 points and Severino 8 of her 13 points after the break.
“We came out in the second half really aggressive and we wanted to secure a win,” said Severino, who also grabbed 10 rebounds. “We made a few really nice passes, and we were finding the open man on offense.”
Mundy said he was pleased with the way underclassmen—freshman Emily Ward (8 points, 6 rebounds), freshman Olivia Lucas (3 points), and sophomore Lindsey Townes—handled themselves, displaying poise.
“Guard Lindsey Townes, who played more minutes than usual, defended well and hit a three during a key third-quarter stretch,” Mundy said.
Jesse Barer (6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists), also played an important role in the Huskers’ victory.
“It felt amazing to win because we have been coming up short in the past view years in the playoffs,” Severino said. “It was fun to win in the out-bracket game, but we all want a win on Friday as well.”
That is when the Huskers travel to No. 2 Hendrick Hudson, in an opening-round contest, at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21.
The Sailors, a formidable opponent, as their 19-1 record suggests, are led by Marist-bound senior Caitlin Weimar, who has registered more than 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds in her illustrious high-school career.
Hen Hud enters the contest on a 15-game winning streak, with their only loss of the season coming at No. 4 Harrison, 61-56, on Dec. 13.
“Staying focused and getting open looks,” Zeolla said about the keys to victory against Hen Hud. “We also have to stay composed and disciplined on the defensive end.”
The game is a rematch of a hard-fought Jan. 13 contest in Montrose, which the Sailors won, 41-30, paced by Weimar (16 points, 10 rebounds).
“We have to be able to have a good battle in the paint and create shot opportunities against a good Hen Hud team,” Mundy said. “The girls played with a lot of heart and energy in our loss against them the first time, so it should be interesting.”
Yorktown fell at John Jay (Cross River), 47-39, on Wednesday, Feb. 12, in their final, regular-season game, led by Barer (15 points).