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Sam Collins

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Nora Gabel scores two points on a putback. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Comsewogue girls’ basketball team dropped its second-to-last game of the season to Sayville Feb. 7, 51-44, on senior night, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort from the Warriors.

Sam Collins prepares to take a shot from beyond the arc. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“I think we came out really strong, got them a little nervous — on their heels a little bit,” senior Sam Collins said.

That’s because she was swishing shot after shot from beyond the arc. Collins scored all nine of her team’s first-quarter points on 3-pointers, and added another at the start of the second.

“I work so hard on it and when I get an open shot I’m happy to take it,” she said. “It helps my teammates and it’s hard to contest a shot like that.”

Her coach likes what he’s seen from his four-year starter as well. Collins has racked up 43 3-pointers this season.

“She makes a living out there,” Comsewogue head coach Joe Caltagirone said. “She can post up too, but with the 1-3-1 defense that [Sayville plays] it was suited for her to stay out on the wing and take the open shots when she had them.”

The game, which was Comsewogue’s first home loss of the season, was tight through most of the first half. Collins’ fourth trey countered a Sayville 3-pointer, and junior Nora Gabel scored a field goal that put her team out front 14-11, but Sayville always had an answer, or two, and by the end of the first half Sayville had a 24-18 advantage.

Sayville’s defense intercepted multiple passes and won its fair share of battles on the boards, but junior Hannah Dorney grabbed multiple rebounds for Comsewogue, and forced a few turnovers herself.

Hannah Dorney carries the ball into Sayville’s zone after forcing a turnover. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We softened their defense, we broke it down pretty good and got some good looks, but our shots didn’t fall,” Caltagirone said. “Hannah has been a great addition off the lacrosse team. We had to play their style with the aggressiveness and working baseline to baseline, which she helped with. I was pleased with their effort.”

Heading into the halftime break, Collins said her team talked about ways to make sure the game didn’t slip away.

“We wanted to move the ball a lot more to make them move because they’re eventually going to get tired,” she said. “If we take the first available shot, it’s easy for them to play defense, but if we wait the whole shot clock and get the best shot possible, they can’t do anything about it.”

At first, it worked. Senior Megan Turner drew a foul and sank both of her free throws, Gabel added a 3-pointer and Dorney scored a field goal to regain the lead for Comsewogue, 25-24. Despite the team’s best efforts, Sayville always had a response. Gabel and junior Georgia Alexiou added four points each in the third, but the Warriors fell behind 45-41. and that was the closest they would get.

“As the game progressed we lost it a little bit, then we came back, but there wasn’t enough time on the clock,” Collins said. “We communicate well, we didn’t give them easy baskets, we made them work for it, and we moved the ball.”

Sofia Colocho drives to the basket. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Caltagirone honored Collins, Turner, Brittany DeLeva, Lauren Gray and Christiany Pizarro before the game as part of the senior night festivities.

“It’s bittersweet — I’ll miss them,” the head coach said. “Some are three- and four-year players I’ve been coaching for a while and they mean a lot to the program. I’m happy for them, but I’m sad to lose them.”

Collins was also emotional.

“I never thought this day would come,” she said. “I wish we could’ve gotten the win, but I know we played our best, and that’s enough for me.”

She said despite the loss the energy is high heading into the postseason, and Caltagirone said he believes in the squad’s ability, noting how this season compared to last. The Warriors are winning the close games and aren’t letting teams back into games, something he said is big for the team.

“They do the hard work,” he said. “I’m pretty confident that we can play with anybody. We’ve shown we can play with anybody.”

Comsewogue sophomore Victoria Blaney shoots while Rocky Point's Madison Hrysko defends. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Comsewogue sophomore Nora Gabel makes a play. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue sophomore Nora Gabel makes a play. Photo by Bill Landon

Behind Nora Gabel’s 23 points and eight steals, the Comsewogue girls’ basketball team led coast to coast in Tuesday’s League V opener on the road at Rocky Point, turning a 9-4 lead after one quarter to a 43-22 victory.

Comsewogue controlled the tempo from tipoff, dominated the time of possession and hit the scoreboard over and over.

By halftime, the Warriors battled their way up to a 20-8 lead, but Comsewogue head coach Joe Caltagirone said he knew Rocky Point would be athletic, despite not knowing how they’d be offensively.

“They put a little ball pressure on us and they contested all of our shots,” Caltagirone said of Rocky Point, adding he was pleased with how his team played defensive. “Offensively, I think we have a little ways to go to get to where I want to be this season.”

Despite several turnovers in the first half, the Warriors got their rhythm in the second as the team found the rim. Gabel, a sophomore guard, lit up the scoreboard for Comsewogue with 11 points, which included a pair of three-pointers. Rocky Point senior forward Julia Jauhiainen scored all of her five points in the third quarter, as her team trailed 33-13.

With 5:52 left in the game, Comsewogue worked to unwind the clock, and the teams traded points as time expired.

Gabel, who nailed three treys on the evening, said that she was surprised by the margin of victory.

Comsewogue freshman Julianna Watson goes up for a layup. Photo by Bill Landon
Comsewogue freshman Julianna Watson goes up for a layup. Photo by Bill Landon

“In the huddle before the game, I said we have to be hungrier than they were,” Gabel said. “So we went out there and played our hardest and we left it all out on the court.”

Following Gabel for the Warriors was junior guard Megan Turner with seven points, and forwards Sam Collins, a junior, and Victoria Blaney, a sophomore, chipped in four points apiece.

“They’re a strong team, but I don’t think we played up to our standards,” Turner said. “Defensively we’re strong, but our offense needs a little work.”

Rocky Point senior guard Michaela Peacock and junior center Allyson Greenstein matched Jauhiainen with five points each.

Rocky Point head coach Scott Lindsay said Comsewogue is always a tough team to play because they’re physical and have two strong guards.

“They play a strong defense up top, which caused a little problem when they started pressing,” Lindsay said. “With our second group, I was really impressed with how they were moving the ball. We’re improving from game to game — they played hard the whole way and I think we’re building on something here.”

Comsewogue will host Harborfields in its first home game of the season on Thursday. A 5:45 p.m. tipoff is scheduled.