By Bill Landon
Shoreham-Wading River was hungry for revenge, and junior Erin Triandafils used it to feed a six-point scoring streak off the bench in the fourth quarter, which led to a 44-33 Wildcats win over previously undefeated Mount Sinai.
“Mount Sinai is a good rival in every sport, and we finally beat them,” Triandafils said. “It was definitely very exciting. We were hoping to play great defense, get some baskets and just play our game.”
Licking their wounds from their only League VI loss of the season, the Wildcats wanted to avenge the Jan. 17 defeat in front of their home crowd Feb. 11.
Shoreham-Wading River head coach Adam Lievre said he suspected the last game of the regular season would be a key matchup between both teams, and have it set the tone for the postseason.
“Going into the year, we both would’ve figured that there was a good chance this was how it was going to go down,” Lievre said. “We knew who they lost due to graduation, but we brought everybody back, so we expected to be fighting for the top spot.”
Mount Sinai was protecting a 17-0 season and 13-0 league record, but the Mustangs couldn’t overcome its rival as the lead began to slip away in the second half.
Shoreham-Wading River’s defense had held Mount Sinai senior Victoria Johnson scoreless until she found the rim three times in the third quarter. Classmate Veronica Venezia scored from the paint, sophomore Holly McNair banked two points and so did sophomore Gabriella Sartori, as the Mustangs edged ahead 27-22 with just over four minutes left.
Shoreham-Wading River tied the game at 29-29, and senior Lindsey McKenna hit a buzzer-beater that gave her team the edge heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Senior Maria Smith said her team had been practicing for weeks with the matchup against Mount Sinai in mind.
“We just wanted revenge, and we finally got it,” Smith said. “I knew that we had momentum and we went into the huddle [and said] we have to keep this [lead]. We can’t lose it.”
That’s when Triandafils scored three straight times.
“Erin [Triandafils], she’s been groomed to play behind Maria [Smith], because they’re very similar in what they’re capable of doing,” Lievre said. “We took a chance and gave her a couple of minutes, and it worked out really well.”
Junior Mikayla Dwyer led Shoreham-Wading River with 10 points, Smith scored eight and seniors Mackenzie Zajac and Sophie Triandafils, Erin’s older sister, each added seven points.
Venezia was atop the scoreboard for Mount Sinai with eight points, Johnson was right behind with seven and McNair, Sartori and sophomore Brooke Cergol rounded out the scoring with six points each..
With the loss, Mount Sinai shares the league title with Shoreham-Wading River.
“At certain times of the season you’re going to have adversity, and this is something we’ll be dealing with when it comes to the playoffs,” Mount Sinai head coach Michael Pappalardo said. “I thought this was a good game for us. I looked at this game as one with a playoff atmosphere. Adversity makes us better.”