For a basketball team trying to build early-season confidence, every victory is key. The East Rockaway girls know this as well as anyone. The Rocks finished 3-14 last year and are determined not to let an early-season losing streak spiral into a lost winter.
East Rockaway found themselves in the early game of the tournament's final day after losing to New Hyde Park, 43-28, on Tuesday.
Thursday yielded a better outcome. A 39-32 overtime victory over Bellmore JFK in the consolation game of the Herricks Tournament marked the first step in what they hope will be a season of redemption.
"In a game like this last year, we probably wouldn't have won," East Rockaway coach Karin Leary said. "They needed a win. When you lose so much, you kind of expect it. We don't want them to expect to lose."
East Rockaway outscored Bellmore JFK 9-2 in overtime. Guard Erica Acampora set the tone early in the extra period by banking in a three-pointer moments after checking into the game.
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"We hadn't scored a basket in a while, so it was definitely a momentum shifter," Leary said.
Later in the period, with the Rocks (1-1) ahead by three, Gina Skelly drove to the basket, was fouled, and sank a free throw, successfully completing a three-point play.
"She saw the lane and went," Leary said. "That was huge."
Skelly scored nine points in the victory.
"She's very quick on the defensive end," Leary said of her guard. "We're looking for her to go with the traps. On the offensive end, she controls the tempo of the game."
Caitlyn O'Mara also scored nine points in the win.
Traps, which will be a big part of the defense this season, worked well for East Rockaway in the win.
"We're athletic," Leary said. "We trapped and had a lot of energy."
The Rocks are hoping that energy leads to wins. A lot of them.
Herricks Wins Own Tourney. Senior Barbara Nictas scored 20 points to lead Herricks over New Hyde Park, 41-25, in the final of the Herricks Tournament. Nictas scored 17 points during the first half and was named tournament MVP.
"She's the heart and soul of the team," coach Tom Kinsella said.