Kristy Vitucci leads Deer Park's second-half rally
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Kristy Vitucci said she wasn't worried after Deer Park scored 12 first-half points yesterday against Huntington. Vitucci has watched the Falcons struggle in the first half on several occasions this season before turning it on in the second half.
It happened again as Deer Park rallied from an 11-point third-quarter deficit to defeat host Huntington, 46-37, in Suffolk League IV girls basketball.
Vitucci played a prominent role, scoring 10 of her 16 points in the second half, and adding seven steals and four assists. Adrianna Cammarata and Sabrina Grunseich had 10 points each for Deer Park, which produced 25 points in the fourth quarter.
"We always turn it up in the second half," Vitucci said. "Our intensity level and defensive effort went up."
After not using the press in the first half, Deer Park (5-3, 3-1) used it to begin the third quarter. It resulted in a few turnovers and easy baskets as the Falcons sliced the deficit to 27-21 after three quarters.
"We turned up the press in the second half," coach Mike Gennaro said. "We were behind and it was time. We need to conserve some energy. We're young and not very deep. In the second half, that was the time to go to the press."
Vitucci hit a three-pointer to give Deer Park its first lead, at 30-27, since early in the second quarter, capping an 18-4 spurt.
Heather Forster hit two free throws and made a putback to put Huntington (6-2, 2-2) back ahead, 31-30, but she fouled out a short time later.
Cammarata hit a jumper with 5:10 left to give Deer Park the lead for good at 32-31, and Vitucci followed with a three-pointer.
With Huntington trailing by five and pressing, Deer Park did a good job getting the ball upcourt flawlessly. Gianna Locker found Vitucci for an easy basket to extend the lead to 42-35 with 1:30 left.
"We have some real good shooters," Gennaro said. "I knew eventually we would come around. We have been a second-half team."
Said Cammarata: "It's definitely a big win. It pushes us to keep going."