A 17-point run in the opening quarter laid the groundwork for host Freeport in its 66-51 victory over Oceanside Jan. 3 in Nassau Conference I girls’ basketball.
It was a special night for the Lady Red Devils, who won for the ninth time in 10 games and continued to live up to preseason hype. Junior forward Taylor Abraham poured in a season-high 27 points, including the 1,000th of her varsity career, while seniors Deavion Peterson, Tiona Parker and Leslie Enrique also scored in double figures with 10 points apiece. Junior Jamie Behar had a game-high 30 for the injury plagued Lady Sailors, who lost four key contributors in December.
“We have such a fun team to coach,” Freeport head coach Meredith Jones said. “The girls are working hard and play for each other. They all knew Taylor was approaching 1,000 tonight and everyone acted as though they reached the milestone themselves.”
Abraham’s big moment came with 2:01 left in the third quarter. The fifth-year varsity member entered the season with 864 career points, and entered the game needing 20 to reach the plateau. She was sitting on 999 when converted a bank shot from inside the paint, drawing a foul in the process, and was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Jones before sinking the free throw to extend Freeport’s lead to 46-30.
“It means so much to me,” said Abraham, who had 16 points in the first half to help the Lady Red Devils build a 33-20 advantage. “Before the season started, coach Jones had me go through all the books and add up my points,” she added. “Then a few days ago she told me I needed 20. I’m glad it happened at home.”
Oceanside (4-4) trailed by as many as 13 in the first quarter but scored seven straight to get within 17-11 early in the second before Abraham and Parker hit threes. “It all goes back to the first quarter when we couldn’t buy a shot and they were making things happen at a fast pace,” Oceanside head coach Jared Stoler said. “Our girls played their butts off and we played evenly over the last three quarters. We came into the game looking to shut down Peterson and I thought we did a commendable job. But she’s not their only weapon.”
Behar and fellow All-County junior Gina Contorno (nine points) did their best to keep the Lady Sailors within striking distance after the difficult start. Stoler was working with yet another rotation after senior center Sam Greco went down with a labrum injury in a win over Hewlett on Dec. 28. Greco joined senior starting point guard Katie Morgan and juniors Emma Amthor and Christina Folias on the shelf.
“We’ve been snake-bit, but we’re doing the best we can,” Stoler said. “I’m confident we can continue to compete with Jamie and Gina leading the way.”
Freeport outscored Oceanside in all four quarters, albeit by a combined four points over the last three. The Lady Red Devils’ lone loss came Dec. 12 in overtime against Island Trees despite a career-high 43 points from Peterson.
“We’re in a good place,” Jones said. “It’s exciting to see what could accomplish.”