Thursday's opening-round finale of the Suffolk Shootout tripleheader at Northport hardly lived up to its name early on. Northport and Longwood were caught in a slow-paced, turnover-filled first quarter, with Northport crawling to a 10-3 lead with less than two minutes left.
But that's when Allie Pavinelli flipped a switch and sparked what turned into a Northport blowout.
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Pavinelli scored eight points in the final 40 seconds of the quarter on two three-pointers and a breakaway layup off a steal, giving the Tigers a 19-3 lead after one en route to a 55-31 non-league victory.
"We didn't start off well but once we started pulling through that's what gave me the ability to do that," Pavinelli said. "We were going on a run, so being motivated by that got me to shoot more and get some confidence."
Northport coach Rich Castellano said his team's defense was key, as the Tigers established a 31-9 lead at halftime with Longwood (4-2) making just three field goals in the first half. Castellano noted Kristin Cleary's ability to contain Longwood's Kiersten West played a big role in the win. West scored nine points -- five below her season average of 14.
"Our coaches inspire us to stay on their harder players and play them tough, and make sure we take away their strengths," Cleary said.
Longwood coach James Castiglione said his team was out of sync from the start. "We're just not where we need to be chemistry wise. We're showing some effort but can't get all five girls to lock in and can't connect plays," Castiglione said. "We have talent, we just have to play together."Northport (5-1) featured Allie Clarke in the second half. She showed off her range with two three-pointers and also displayed her ability to play in the post, scoring most of her game-high 15 points in the paint.
Clarke's layup and foul shot midway through the fourth quarter gave Northport its largest lead of the game at 52-24. Pavinelli finished with 12 points, while Cleary and Lizzy Atkinson each scored eight.
"This is a big win for us," Clarke said. "It shows other teams that we're right on board with the top teams in Suffolk."Earlier in the Suffolk Shootout, Riverhead defeated Deer Park and Harborfields topped Half Hollow Hills East.