Manhasset booked their trip to the Nassau County Semifinals by beating Wantagh, 60-51, after losing to them last year in the county semifinals. Revenge was sweet, as star shooting guard Emma LoPinto scored 28 points while freshmen Caitlin Barrett and Elizabeth Taylor were able to hold Wantagh’s star forward guard Julia Wilkinson to just 8 points.
“All of us are a family and want to get as far as we can,” LoPinto said after the Wantagh game.
The Indians ran into a Locust Valley team in the semifinals, held at SUNY Farmingdale this past weekend. The Indians came out firing with LoPinto scoring 11 points in the first half.
As the second quarter went on, Manhasset turned on the pressure with a 1-2-1-1 full court trap zone and Locust Valley had trouble advancing the ball past half court, leading to scoring opportunities for the Indians.
Going into halftime the Indians were up 28-19, but that would not be the end of the story for the Locust Valley Falcons.
The Falcons came out of the half storming back from their 9-point deficit, lead by Julia Sabatino’s 9 points in the quarter. With the Indians offense sputtering, Locust Valley would outscore the Indians, 15-6 in the quarter, tying the game at 34 heading into the fourth quarter after a steal by Sabatino that lead to a layup in the final seconds.
“A game of runs for sure,” Manhasset head coach Lauren Sadeh said. “We got hot and momentum swung our way. Second half we came out flat and had more turnovers than points. It’s going to be tough to win if you cannot control the pace and the ball.”
With four minutes to go in the game, a three by Locust Valley’s Lindsay Hogan gave the Falcons the lead at 41-38 and they would never look back from that point on. Manhasset would score only 2 points from the 5-minute mark to 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
“[The offense] just got stale,” Sadeh said. “We just were not running our stuff for whatever reason and then there is confusion. You have set plays for a reason so everybody knows where to go and they have a job to do and I think we freestyled too much. When you don’t have a set place to go to or a set thing to do, everybody is on different pages and it’s a hard thing to get anything going at that point.”
The final buzzer sounded with a final score of 53-45 Locust Valley. LoPinto, who was face guarded by Locust Valley all game and was the subject of Locust Valley’s diamond and 1 defense, still finished with 16 points. The only other Manhasset player to hit double figures was senior point guard Maria Themelis with 10 points.
LoPinto, who is committed to play lacrosse at the University of Florida, will be returning for her senior year next season. Themelis is the only player Manhasset will be losing that played significant minutes this season. Eighth grader Amelia LoPinto, Barrett and sophomore Carly George will be looked upon to make the next step on a veteran-laden team that expects to compete for a county title.
“Fixing those little things of not letting the moment get too big for us and other kids, role players, having the confidence to take it to the rim or shoot the ball and not rely on Emma or Maria to make something happen,” Sadeh said. “With a couple years now under our belt, I think we will be right back here next here and possibly one of the favorites to win it, In my opinion. We got a lot of youth on the bench that got a lot of good experience this year too. Whether it is Carly, Amelia LoPinto or Caitlin Barrett, that with our core juniors and will-be seniors next year we should be right back here next year.”