By Bill Landon
In her last showing of the season, Kings Park’s Sam Schultz may be bummed about the loss, but she has a lot to brag about. The senior was held to 10 points, but they made all the difference as she finishes as the school’s all-time leading scorer, with 1,673 points. She broke the 2004 record of 1,515, set by Jen DiChiara.
“I feel awful for Sam that she’s going out like this,” Kings Park head coach Tom Edmundson said. “But unfortunately, that’s athletics and that happens.”
No. 2-seeded Kings Park trailed No. 6 Hauppauge most of the game in a 61-51 Class A semifinal loss Feb. 20. Leighann Perciballi swished a 3-pointer and followed it with a layup after an Eagles turnover to close the gap to three points with just over three minutes left, but it was as close as the Kingsmen would come.
“Obviously they’re very good with their [tall players] — they have a 6-3 forward that we just don’t measure up with, and she had a nice game,” Edmundson said. “Their entire team played well. Every girl on the court did their job and we lacked in some areas today.”
Hauppauge keyed on Schultz, who was double teamed from opening tipoff. From a 12-all tie with 1:29 left in the opening quarter, Hauppauge dominated the boards, protected the ball and slowly edged ahead until the team led by nine at halftime, 31-22.
Schultz began the game ranked No. 2 in Suffolk County in scoring this season with 577 points. Unable to drive the lane or get clear looks to the rim, she was held well below her average 26.2 points per game.
In contrast, junior Sam Hogan was free to pick up the slack, netting seven field goals, a pair of free-throws and a triple to put her atop the scoring chart with 19 points. Perciballi and junior Izzy Buffa finished with seven points each, Haley Jette banked five and Julia Pellettieri netted three.
The League V champions entered the postseason 19-2 overall and 15-2 in conference action. The Kingsmen topped No. 7 Shoreham-Wading River, 77-62, in the first round of playoffs Feb. 17. Edmundson said the team expected to make a run at a state title, but said his girls have a lot to be proud of despite the loss.
“In the grand scheme of things, I think we over achieved this year when we lost so many players from last year’s team,” he said, adding how it was nice to see the younger girls step up and perform. “It never feels good when the season ends, but I’m so proud of them and their entire season looking back — we’re not going to remember this loss, we’re going to remember the last three months of what we’ve accomplished and be proud of that.”