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Massapequa Breezes Past Mepham

If the fanfare surrounding the Massapequa Chiefs were any quieter, one might question if they’re really the defending champs of Nassau County. The lack of hype doesn’t bother the Chiefs, though. In fact, sophomore forward, Melanie Hingher, has taken a liking to it.

“We’re the defending champs, but people don’t talk about us much,” said Hingher, who scored 16 of her 19 points in the first half to lead Massapequa over the Mepham Lady Pirates in the Nassau County Class AA sem-finals, 69-34. “It’s motivation for us.”

The Chiefs looked motivated and athletic from the start, squeezing Mepham into turnovers and keeping hands in passing lanes. Hingher pierced the Lady Pirates from the line and once senior guard Rachel Sieber trapped Mepham into a turnover and converted on the other end with a three ball, the Chiefs were off and running with a 16-4 lead.

“We’re really a team full of athletes, not ball players,” said Sieber, who nailed three treys and finished with 11 points.

Massapequa wouldn’t look back, using defense to protect their lead when offense was slow and the squeeze flattened Mepham quickly.

“We wanted to finish them early,” said Hingher. “We know they shoot a lot of threes, so our plan was to close out on their shooters.”

Mepham got a boost from senior guard, Bridgid McNeill (6 points), and junior Alexa Morris (a team high 11 points) in the first and second quarters, respectively, but Massapequa reached into their bench for answers and continued to disrupt the Lady Pirates’ passing lanes and box them out of inside scoring opportunities. Key contributions from sophomore guard Kole Pollock (7 points) and junior forward Meghan McCabe (8 points) bolstered Hingher and Sieber’s efforts, and by early in the fourth quarter, Mepham had run into a 20-plus point deficit that was insurmountable.

But next weekend the Chiefs will have their hands full with a team that isn’t all that different than they are. Deep, defensive minded and scrappy (with a higher profile and ranking to boot), the Baldwin Lady Bruins present an opponent the Chiefs will have to duel to the final horn with.

“We saw how they came out 12-0 against Freeport,” said Sieber. “We’ll have to start that game aggressively and match their energy.”

Hingher is also up for the challenge – and a shot to earn respect county-wide. Again.

“[Baldwin] used to come to our games, then they just stopped coming,” she said. “But I don’t mind. I know a lot of the girls on their team and we have a lot of respect for them.”

But basketball is business, not personal.

 

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