Hannah Lorenzen’s shot may not have been falling during warm-ups, but luckily that didn’t carry over into the game. During the first half of her Ward Melville girls’ basketball team’s matchup against Longwood, she was on fire, and it fueled a 57-39 comeback win Jan. 3 that keeps the Patriots atop the League I standings.
The senior scored 14 points in the first two quarters, and sophomore Lauren Hansen finished with a game-high 24 points, 19 of which were scored in the second half, for a balanced and potent offensive performance.
“I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but once I started hitting my shots I felt it,” Lorenzen said. “I think our defense wasn’t as great as it usually is. We were a little nervous, frazzled, but once we started playing our game we got back into our flow.”
After missing on all four of her attempts in the first quarter, Hansen opened up the scoring for the second quarter with a layup, reached to bank a layup while being fouled, and completed the three-point play to pull the Patriots closer, 20-14. After a Longwood score, Lorenzen swished a 3-pointer, two free throws and her second 3 to tie the game, 22-22.
She said head coach Bruce Haller told the team coming into the matchup that it needed to be fast and react quickly to play with Longwood.
“They fast break a lot and mark up then instead of when we get back, so we had to adjust to that,” Lorenzen said.
Longwood countered with a 3-point field goal of its own, but Lorenzen banked a layup with eight seconds left and her buzzer-beating third 3-pointer left Ward Melville just behind, 27-26.
“We had to slow down and take a deep breath, relax with our shots and be patient on defense,” Lorenzen said. “We had to play our game.”
Her Patriots did just that.
Senior Taylor Tripptree and Hansen teamed up to tally 14 of the Patriots’ total 16 points in the third quarter. At the end of the eight minutes, the Patriots edged ahead 42-37.
“I think we were hyped up because we wanted to win — we had jitters,” Hansen said of her team’s vibe in the first half, adding that she and the team needed to keep pushing despite missing points and being down. “I persevered, just kept shooting. I think it defines the culture of our team. Sometimes we start slow, but we always pick it up in the second half.”
She wasn’t kidding. Hansen scored 13 of her team’s 16 points in the final quarter, on two 3-pointers, a three-point play and two field goals.
“I think every game, every day we get better together, our chemistry gets better and better and we improve every single game,” she said.
With the win, Ward Melville remains No. 1 in League I, but instead of being in a three-way tie, the team is now tied with just Commack. The Patriots will face the Cougars on the road Jan. 10 at 5:45 p.m.
Tripptree said she was happy to see her team clean up its act against Longwood, but said the rushing and missed layups forced the team out of its comfort zone.
“We had to play at our pace — not let them change our game,” she said. “We didn’t let the bad calls or missed shots affect us. We just can’t be digging ourselves into holes we’re forced to dig out of. We stayed strong and kept each other up, though, and we realized this was our game.”