Lakeland Stings Panthers in Giglio Games Win

Lakeland poses for a team photo after defeating Walter Panas in the Giglio Games. Credits: Rick Kuperberg

SHRUB OAK, N.Y.— When Lakeland takes on Walter Panas in the Vincent and Terry Giglio Memorial Scholarship Games, it’s always something special.

It was even more special this year though when Lakeland’s girls basketball squad hosted Panas in this season’s version of the games on Jan. 28. That’s because the game featured two of the best teams in Section 1 Class A, with the Hornets looking to avenge last year’s loss to the Panthers.

Led by 15 points from junior Jess Ascencao, Lakeland got its revenge with a 57-50 victory.

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“Giglio Games is a big rivalry because it’s two teams from the same district and because of that it’s great to come out and win,” Ascencao said.

A running jumper in the lane at the buzzer to end the third quarter by Ascencao put Lakeland up 39-37 and gave the Hornets the momentum they needed to earn the victory.

“That was a great feeling because that play really was the play that got us going and got us to keep our lead and win the game,” Ascencao said.

Lakeland got another big hoop late in the final quarter when Colleen Walsh (11 points) threw a full-court pass to Ascencao, who laid it in to put the Hornets up 49-43.

“I just looked at her and no one was on me so we both knew that I was going to the basket,” Ascencao said.

Helping the Hornets seal the victory was the clutch foul shooting of Alexa Cole (8 points), who went 6 of 6 from the foul line in the final 37 seconds.

“She always works really hard in practice,” Ascencao said. “She’s helped us win a lot of big games lately. Those foul shots, we really needed them and she was able to do it.”

Kelsey Walsh (6 points), Rieley Walsh (6 points), Val Potenza (5 points), Krista Verrino (4 points) and Brianna Monte (2 points) also contributed to the Hornet win.

Lakeland beat visiting Brewster 50-42 on Jan. 26, avenging a 68-33 loss in Putnam County on Jan. 11. Colleen Walsh (18 points), Verrino (10 points), and Cole (9 points) helped propel the Hornets to the victory.

Lakeland (11-4) fell at Somers 61-30 on Jan. 25, led by Colleen Walsh (11 points).

Yorktown dominated visiting Port Chester 53-17 in a Jan. 26 contest.

“I believe the reason that we came out so strong tonight was because everyone on the team was contributing,” Yorktown senior co-captain Anna Nuccio said. “We played strong both offensively and defensively which made it hard for Port Chester to keep up with us.”

Nuccio led a very balanced Husker attack with eight points, followed by Kat Severino (7 points), Jesse Barer (6 points) and Caroline Keenaghan (6 points).

“Spreading the scoring amongst our players was very important tonight,” Nuccio said. “We have grown into a very unselfish team and get just as excited at other people’s success as our own. I think this may have been one of the biggest factors that contributed to our success tonight.”

Standing out defensively, Nuccio said, was Carli Mager.

“This was her first game back from injury and she easily got back into the flow,” Nuccio said. “Her communication on defense helps the other players on the court tremendously.”

Yorktown (8-6) lost to four-time Class AA state champion Ossining 96-35 on Jan. 27. The Huskers were led by Severino (19 points).

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