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Depth, Defense lead Massapequa to Class AA Finals
Any team can make a run, but sustaining one is a different story. The #1 seeded Massapequa Chiefs excelled in the latter against fourth seeded MacArthur via a deep arsenal of weapons and a suffocating defense and secured their spot in the Nassau Class AA finals, 64-41.
"We can run players in different combinations," said Massapequa Head Coach Shari Roessler. Those combinations made it difficult for MacArthur to gain ground, and with offensive firepower coming from all angles and fresh sets of legs doing the defensive dirty work, the Generals never held a lead after the first quarter.
Both teams made early runs, with Massapequa's full court press stifling MacArthur to set up an 11-0 run in the first five minutes of play. But the Generals responded nicely with an 8-0 run of their own, as a nice post move from Jena Cozza capped the charge and made it a 15-12 game with a few ticks left in the stanza. But when Massapequa countered with another 11-0 run, MacArthur couldn't find a rebuttal. The mission becomes even more difficult when the bench is doing the lion's share of the damage.
"We were ready coming off the bench," said freshman guard Megan McCabe, who scored all 9 of her points in the second quarter. "I worked on my shot in practice and knew I had to be confident when I got in the game."
McCabe showed no fear, converting on a pass from senior guard Morgan Roessler, then nailing a trey and another deuce for seven consecutive points to reestablish the double digit lead, 25-12. Roessler took action herself, and by quarter's end the duo combined for 15 points. But it didn't stop there.
"We know we have a deeper bench than most teams," said senior Lauren Van Buren. "All of the girls have confidence."
That would include Van Buren herself. The 6'0" forward joined freshman Melanie Hingher in keeping MacArthur at a distance and expanding Massapequa's lead to 20. The Generals would never threaten in the second half, but junior Stephanie Volpe did her best to will her team back in it.
"Volpe played a great game," praised Coach Roessler. "So we really had to focus on her defensively."
And the double teams came. But despite a scintillating third stanza from Volpe, the Generals had no other options - Volpe's monster 13 point quarter saw her as the lone point provider for eight plus minutes. After their first quarter run, MacArthur was unable to get settled offensively in the face of the Chief's high pressure defense.
Van Buren and Hingher's 12 points each led Massapequa, but Roessler (10 points), McCabe and senior shooting guard Danielle Doherty (7 points) all helped lead a well-balanced attack. Volpe's game high 19 points paced MacArthur, while Cozza chipped in with 9.
Massapequa will play in the Nassau Class AA finals on March 2 at 5:30 PM at CW Post.
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