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Hannah Stockman

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Northport's Danielle Pavinelli, on left, and Shea Cronin, on right, with Hannah Stockman after she scored her 1,000th career point. Photo by Emmet Hawkins

By Emmet Hawkins

Hannah Stockman knows how to score.

The junior knotted the game in the fourth quarter in epic fashion, recording her 1,000th career point with a move down low. After a brief stop in play to commemorate the milestone, she quickly got back in the swing of things, dropping another bucket to put the Tigers back on top against Central Islip and give them a lead they’d never relinquish. Stockman’s team-high 13 points helped the Tigers to a 41-37 win over the reigning Suffolk County champs Feb. 9. Northport finishes the season undefeated in League II (12-0).

Danielle Pavinelli shoots from the free-throw line. Photo by Emmet Hawkins

Stockman had one word to describe her accomplishment: “Incredible.” Although underclassmen stole the show on senior night, head coach Rich Castellano said his team is selfless. A share of the points proved that, with sophomore Kerry Dennin contributing nine points and junior Shea Cronin and sophomore Danielle Pavinelli adding eight points apiece.

“It is a team-first mentality, and these girls buy into the system,” Castellano said. “It’s about being unselfish and moving the ball around. I just tell them what to do, they’re the ones who execute it.”

In a back-and-forth defensive battle against her team’s rival,  guard Pavinelli showed the poise and leadership of a veteran player. She had a handful of assists and took charge in the fourth quarter to help secure the win. She prides herself on playing both sides of the ball and making her team better.

“I like to capitalize when I drive to the basket,” she said. “I’ve been playing with these girls a long time, so I’m comfortable giving up the ball.”

Central Islip guards Kaira Rodriguez and Naabea Assibey-Bonsu scored 16 and 11 points, respectively. Their efforts were not enough to overcome the scrappy hustle of guard Cronin or the clutch playmaking of Dennin, who grabbed 11 rebounds.

Unsure of who will be drawn in the first round of playoffs Feb. 16, Castellano said it doesn’t matter.

“I don’t think about it,” he said. :Whoever we get, we get. The game plan remains the same.”

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Northport's girls basketball team took the League II title with a 50-42 win over Walt Whitman to remain undefeated (11-0). Photo by Jim Ferchland

By Jim Ferchland

League II play did not phase Rich Castellano and his Northport Tigers this season.

Hannah Stockman ready to make a pass. Photo by Jim Ferchland

The girls basketball team took down Walt Whitman on the road Feb. 2 in a 50-42 victory to remain undefeated at 11-0 and claim the league crown. Junior guard Hannah Stockman was the catalyst with 16 points.

With the Tigers lead 23-19 at the halftime break, the four-year varsity player’s mind was set on taking the title.

“From the beginning of the season our goal was to be league champions,” Stockman said. “Tonight, we finally achieved that.”

Castellano said he was expecting a close game against Walt Whitman. The last time the Tigers faced off against the Wildcats Jan. 9, Northport won a tight 48-44 decision.

“I’ve been playing against coach Dan Trebour for many years and our games are always close,” Castellano said. “They play good defense, we play good defense. Every shot is contested. It’s always close at best.”

Kelly McLaughlin jumps for the 3-pointer. Photo by Jim Ferchland

Stockman and sophomore guard Danielle Pavinelli notched double-digit point totals for Northport. Pavinelli finished with 10 points, six of them coming the third quarter.

The Tigers faced an unfortunate scene late in the first quarter when one of their sharpshooters hit the floor hard. Senior guard and four-year varsity player Shelby Maldavir tripped and landed hard on her knee. She didn’t return to the court, finishing with one point.

“I felt a little pop right on my knee cap,” Maldavir said. “The doctors looked at it and said it’s not an ACL injury. The best it could be is just a bruise.”

Castellano said losing Maldavir, one of his biggest point scorers, was a tough break.

“That hurt us,” Castellano said. “She’s a leader. She’s an outside threat — she hits threes. But the testament of the team is that you have players to replace. That’s why you have 15 girls on the team.”

Northport sophomore guard Kelly McLaughlin filled in for Maldavir. She had five points with two three throws made late in the fourth quarter.

Danielle Pavinelli leaps above the blocks as she reaches for the rim. Photo by Jim Ferchland

Castellano rotated players for different assignments to set them up for success. After Maldavir’s injury, Castellano said he wanted to “go big” and bring in 5-foot, 10-inch sophomore Leah Morawski. When she took to the court, McLaughlin came in to provide inside help for sophomore forward Kerry Dennin, who caught 16 rebounds on the night.

“You put all of those little pieces together and it’s an 8-point win,” Castellano said. “We were just a little better tonight.”

Walt Whitman’s Meghan Soulias caught fire in the second half scoring 19 of her game-high 23 points in the second half. Twelve of them came in third quarter — with two threes — where the Wildcats cut deficit to five. Four other players scored for Walt Whitman, but she was the only player in double figures.

“She’s a great player,” Castellano said of Soulias. “We knew that. We know she’s going to get her points.”

Northport has won over 20 league titles and 10 county championships under Castellano, who has been at the helm for 39 years.  Northport is scheduled to face Central Islip Feb. 9 in the final game of the regular season. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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