Big things were expected from Commack junior Samantha Lane this season after performing very well in the summer and fall leagues, but she rolled her left ankle in the first scrimmage of the season and missed the first six games.
When she returned on Jan. 5 against Brentwood and scored 12 points, Lane rolled the same ankle again. Lane has struggled through the injury since, but had her best game of the season Tuesday night with a career-high 17 points to lead host Commack to a 47-39 win over Patchogue-Medford in Suffolk League I girls basketball.
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"In the beginning, it impacted me," Lane said. "I have been going to physical therapy. It's really begun to feel better the past four games. I don't think about it anymore."
Chelsea Schultz, who scored eight of her 10 points in a 14-5 fourth quarter, hit a three-pointer to give Commack a 36-34 lead with 5:35 left in the game igniting a 10-2 run. During the run, Lane drained a long three-pointer as the shot clock was winding down to give the Cougars a 41-36 lead with 4:12 left.
"She wasn't even catching iron in the first half and I wanted to make sure she got touches," Commack coach Denis Conroy said. "She's not one dimensional and she rebounds well. If she plays to her potential, it makes us a lot tougher. The injury really slowed her down."
Melissa Lobaccaro capped the run with a layup and Schultz added insurance with a three-pointer with 2:05 left to extend the lead to 46-39.
Commack (11-7, 9-5) started four seniors on Senior Night and they played the entire first quarter and trailed 13-3. The Cougars used a 21-11 second quarter to tie the scored at 24.
With the win Commack finished tied for third in League I with Longwood, which swept the two games. Commack will likely avoid playing in an outbracket game, while Patchogue-Medford (8-6) will likely have to play in one.
"We didn't want to go into the playoffs on a four-game losing streak," Lane said. "It's a huge win, especially since it was our senior game. This will give us a boost."