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Milan Hatcher

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Miller Place senior Danielle Bamnola maintains possession of the ball inside the paint in the Panthers' 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Miller Place girls’ basketball team snapped an eight-game losing streak with its first win since early December and second League VI win of the season, in a 61-18 victory over East Hampton Tuesday.

Miller Place junior Elizabeth Corbin makes her way into East Hampton's zone in the Panthers' 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Miller Place junior Elizabeth Corbin makes her way into East Hampton’s zone in the Panthers’ 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Most of the girls’ losses over that streak were close, with the girls losing by four to six points in half of them.

The Panthers’ last win was a 57-32 win over East Hampton on Dec. 11, and since then, the girls have shown they’ve improved by allowing fewer points and tacking on more against the Bonackers this time around.

Senior Milan Hatcher started the game off with two points, and nearly four minutes went by before the next points were put on the board. This time, it was East Hampton scoring a three-pointer, which the Bonackers followed with a long field goal to take a 5-2 lead.

At the 3:02 mark, junior Elizabeth Corbin scored a field goal to pull within one point, and senior Jess Powers tacked on a layup with 1:33 left in the first quarter to give the team a lead it would never relinquish. Sophomore Kelli Ryan scored a layup after a turnover and sophomore Victoria Iavarone swished one free-throw point to give the Panthers a 9-5 lead at the end of eight minutes.

Miller Place sophomore Victoria Iavarone moves the ball downcourt in the Panthers' 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Miller Place sophomore Victoria Iavarone moves the ball downcourt in the Panthers’ 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Miller Place was forcing turnovers and stealing passes, but both teams were victims of traveling, and both had trouble getting their shots to fall.

Those errors continued into the second stanza, leaving Miller Place unable to score for nearly the first two minutes of play, while the Panthers held East Hampton scoreless across the full eight minutes.

With 6:12 remaining, sophomore Jillian Patterson broke the ice with a long two-point field goal. A minute later, senior Danielle Bamnola scored a layup, and seconds after that, Iavarone tacked on another two points to extend her team’s lead to 15-5.

Corbin netted a field goal, while Bamnola added two free-throw points and Hatcher added another, to bring the halftime score to 20-5.

From there, it was smooth sailing for the Panthers as their shots began to fall in the second half.

Miller Place senior Jess Powers prepares to pass the ball in the Panthers' 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Miller Place senior Jess Powers prepares to pass the ball in the Panthers’ 61-18 win over East Hampton on Jan. 19. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Miller Place nearly doubled its first-half score in the third quarter alone, tacking on 17 more points while holding its opponent to five, and lit up the scoreboard even more in the fourth, with 24 points to East Hampton’s eight.

Bamnola led all scorers with 15 points. Hatcher finished with 12 and Patterson contributed 11. Corbin tallied eight points on the evening, Powers, Ryan and sophomore Kaylee Deleva added four points apiece and Iavarona rounded out the scoring with three points on the evening.

The Panthers (3-9 overall, 2-6 in conference play) are back in action today when they travel to Hampton Bays (6-1 in League VI) for a 5:45 p.m. tipoff.

Port Jefferson junior Courtney Lewis scores a game-high 23 points in the Royals' 61-55 win

Miller Place's Milan Hatcher knocks down a layup in the Panthers' 61-55 nonleague loss to Port Jefferson. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson's Courtney Lewis drives the baseline in the Royals' 61-55 nonleague win over Miller Place on Dec. 12. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s Courtney Lewis drives the baseline in the Royals’ 61-55 nonleague win over Miller Place on Dec. 12. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Behind junior Courtney Lewis’ game-high 23 points, Port Jefferson led most of the way, until late in the third quarter when Miller Place rallied back to take a three-point lead, but the Royals bounced back midway through the fourth, defeating their nonleague challenger on the road Saturday morning, 61-55.

With a roster void of seniors, the Royals played beyond their years as they controlled the tempo of the game, leading 19-10 after the first quarter, and took a 31-25 advantage into the halftime break.

The Panthers closed the gap with two minutes left in the third quarter, when sophomore Ally Tarantino scored a put-back off a rebound to tie the game at 37-37, and senior Milan Hatcher answered next, driving the lane and muscling her way to the rim for the score to put her team out front for the first time in the game, 39-37. Hatcher had a hot hand in the third, scoring 11 of her total 15 points, including a pair of three-pointers. At the end of the stanza, Miller Place held a 40-39 lead.

“I told my players to keep running plays; keep calm, and we had to play good defense because [Port Jefferson has] good shooters,” Hatcher said. “They like to drive and kick out. They’re a good team.”

With 4:09 left in the game, the Panthers clung to a three-point lead, out in front 49-46.

Miller Place's Milan Hatcher knocks down a layup in the Panthers' 61-55 nonleague loss to Port Jefferson. Photo by Bill Landon
Miller Place’s Milan Hatcher knocks down a layup in the Panthers’ 61-55 nonleague loss to Port Jefferson. Photo by Bill Landon

The free-throw performance was bleak, as both teams left points on the table. With her team leading 50-49, Hatcher went to the stripe shooting two, and missed both.

With just over two minutes left in the contest, still trailing by one, Port Jefferson junior Siobhan Petracca went to the line shooting two, and she too came away empty.

“It was a disappointing loss,” Miller Place senior Jessica Powers said. “We knew exactly what they had. We came up short, which hurt us, and we didn’t play as a team.”

Port Jefferson junior Gillian Kenah, who scored 16 points in the game behind Lewis’ 23, said she was impressed with the Panthers’ offensive effort.

“We played a really solid game — we came out pressing immediately and I think that worked really well for us,” Kenah said. “But they came back at us even after our press, so I applaud them for that.”

Both teams traded baskets, and Lewis went to the line shooting two, hitting the front end but missing the back, to help her team edge ahead 53-51.

Miller Place's Danielle Bamnola goes to the rim in a Dec. 12 nonleague home loss to Port Jefferson, 61-55. Photo by Bill Landon
Miller Place’s Danielle Bamnola goes to the rim in a Dec. 12 nonleague home loss to Port Jefferson, 61-55. Photo by Bill Landon

“We knew they had some good players, so we had to adjust our defense, but we did well rebounding, which is something we don’t usually do,” Lewis said. “They had two players guarding our best players in a triangle, so we had to adjust to it, to try and break that up.”

At the 1:36 mark, Tarantino, with a dominant performance on the boards, scored on another put-back to tie the game again.

“We expected them to come out strong and they did,” Tarantino said. “We came out a little flat in the first half. Coach told us after the game to keep going up strong [to the rim] and don’t fade away.”

From the 53-53 tie, the game was decided at the foul line, as both teams lost players due to foul trouble.

Port Jefferson freshman Jocelyn Lebron was fouled as she drove the lane with just over a minute left, and scored on her first free-throw attempt. Although she missed the second, Lewis grabbed the rebound for the score to give her team a 56-53 advantage.

“I thought we did very well in handling the pressure from their defense,” Lebron said. “They were what we expected, but we did well on our rebounding and our defensive pressure.”

Lewis tacked on another field goal to help push her team further ahead, 58-53. The junior scored 12 points in the final quarter.

“We missed a lot of foul shots today — we’re much better at the foul line,” Port Jefferson head coach Ed Duddy said.

Port Jefferson's Jocelyn Lebron drives to the basket and scores in the Royals' Dec. 12 61-55 victory over Miller Place. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s Jocelyn Lebron drives to the basket and scores in the Royals’ Dec. 12 61-55 victory over Miller Place. Photo by Bill Landon

Miller Place senior Danielle Bamnola cut the Panthers’ deficit to four with her foul-line appearance with 28 seconds left, but Port Jefferson’s soccer sensation, junior Jillian Colucci, went to the line shooting two and nailed both to maintain the six-point lead, 60-54.

Bamnola and Petracca traded points at the foul line next, to bring the final score to 61-55.

“They’re very talented with a good fast break, and that group has been together since the eighth grade,” Miller Place head coach Joe Read said. “We’ve held our opponent to 30 points a game this season and today we gave up 50, and that goes to the team aspect of it. We’re playing like individuals, especially defensively.”

Read added that despite the loss, he was happy with his team’s skill level against his opponent.

“I’m not upset with how my girls played today, other than they didn’t play as a team, and that to me was the difference,” he said. “If they can play together, they’re capable of great things.”

Miller Place will host League VI challenger Hampton Bays on Tuesday at 4 p.m., while Port Jefferson will host Mount Sinai on Thursday, in a nonleague game scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.

This version corrects the class level of Siobhan Petracca, the total point count of Gillian Kenah, and the date of Port Jefferson’s next game.