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Garden City Surges on Sewanhaka, 46-41

Baby steps. That’s what the Garden City Trojans had to take to get back in the game. A big shot here. A defensive stop there. A few free throws other places. All they had to do was ignore the scoreboard, which is easier to plan than achieve.

“We were down ten points at the half and we were stressed in the locker room,” said junior forward Taylor Carpentier. “We just told ourselves to play like the score was 0-0.”

And the Trojans did just that, as they snuck up on a surging Sewanhaka team, outscoring them 31-16 in the second half and eventually toppling them, 46-41, for a return trip to the Nassau Class A championships.

“Our half time adjustment was simply to relax,” revealed Garden City Head Coach Anthony Sparacia. “We had the looks [in the first half], but we were tight.”

Point production was indeed a rarity for the Trojans early on. And once Sewanhaka cracked the Trojans’ zone, the jump shots gave them a double digit lead in the first quarter. Good ball movement ensured that points were evenly distributed amongst the Sewanhaka rotation, but hot three point shooting from freshman Daniella Weinschreider and dominant defensive rebounding from freshman Casey Hayes cemented a 12 point lead for the Indians. Hustle plays on both sides of the ball from sophomore guard Daniella Ford (7 points) added more ammunition, and Garden City seemed lethargic and lost. To worsen matters, sophomore guard Samantha Auricchio collected her third foul on a great charge from Ford and had yet to score from the field. And she wouldn’t for the rest of the game, but the sophomore played smart - and with baby steps.

“I knew they would face guard me all game,” Auricchio said. “So the rest of the team stepped up and did what they needed to do.”

Carpeniter got things started by getting to the line and bringing Garden City back within six. Freshman Kerry McCarraher (12 points) hit a pair of big shots to bring the Trojans within two with 4:45 left to play. Sophomore Becky Reifler (9 points) was next with a pair of huge three pointers, the latter of which tied the game for the first time, 33-33, with 3:55 on the clock. But the catalyst behind it all was Auricchio, who conducted the show with four fouls and helped seal the victory. Her assist to Carpenter placed Garden City in the driver’s seat, but her near flawless free throw shooting iced the deal - Auricchio shot a pristine 8-8 in the final stanza and 12-13 for the game. Additionally, Garden City’s defense was successful in turning Sewanhaka over in the second half. Sometimes doing the little things and building a victory one brick at a time is quickest way to a win.

“We just needed to make some shots,” Coach Sparacia said. “Once Taylor made those free throws in the first few minutes of the half and we made our defensive adjustments...that’s what we needed.”

Garden City will face Floral Park in the Nassau Class A finals on March 2 at CW Post at 3PM.

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