Lorraine Hickman's three-point play, steal, helps Floral Park girls

Floral Park forward Lorraine Hickman grabs a defensive

Floral Park forward Lorraine Hickman grabs a defensive rebound under the basket in a game against Manhasset. (Feb. 6, 2013) (Credit: Steven Ryan)

Points sure were at a premium in the fourth quarter.

But so was Lorraine Hickman.

Floral Park was clinging to a three-point lead over Manhasset when Hickman took a pass along the baseline, powered inside with a defender draped over her, and sank a layup while drawing the foul. She swished the free throw -- after missing the first, a lane violation gave her a reprieve -- to cap the scoring for the Knights.

"I have all the faith in Lorraine that when I get her the ball in a big spot," teammate Valerie Fox said, "she's going up strong and it's going in."

But, we should probably mention here that this all happened with 5:03 remaining. Indeed, baskets were hard to come by.

But Hickman was hard to get by.

Manhasset, after pulling within 2, had the ball in the low post with 10 seconds left, but Hickman got a steal, helping Floral Park hold on for the 37-35 win Wednesday in Nassau A-III girls basketball.

Manhasset had one more chance, but a 15-foot jumper missed at the buzzer.

"We wanted to hold on and make smart decisions," Hickman said, explaining the fourth quarter in which the Knights were outscored 7-4. "Our focus was just on playing strong defense."

In lieu of scoring, Floral Park crashed the boards, swarmed defensively and constantly harassed the ballhandler -- even after defensive rebounds.

Hickman, a 5-11 forward, had eight points and 12 rebounds for the Knights (11-4, 7-2). Jeanna Orfanos added seven points and five assists, Fox scored seven points, and Alexandria Baldini had six points and six rebounds.

Jackie Albanese (12 points) hit a three-pointer that got the Indians within 33-31, then Orfanos hit a free throw preceding Hickman's three-point play. Katie Giesecke scored on a layup and her jumper with 1:12 left brought the Indians within 2, setting up a frenetic final minute.

Maddy Molinari, Erin Barry and Giesecke each scored seven points for Manhasset (11-4, 6-3).

Floral Park now has a shot at a top-five seed in the Class A playoffs -- a testament to their resilience after losing All-Long Islander Kaela Hilaire, who transferred to Long Island Lutheran. The Knights now rely more heavily on ball movement and defense.

"I'm really proud of how we've been doing and it's very gratifying to win with this group," coach Michael Spina said. "We've had to work hard and adjust because Kaela was definitely a star for us."

But, hey, so is Lorraine Hickman.

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