Mei-Lyn Bautista, Jordan Augustus, McKayla Hernandez lead St. Mary's to undefeated CHSAA regular season

St. Mary's Mei-Lyn Bautista heads up the court St. Mary's Mei-Lyn Bautista heads up the court against Holy Trinity. (Feb. 21, 2013) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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Wow, did St. Mary's take the league by storm.

The infusion of transfers Mei-Lyn Bautista, Jordan Augustus and McKayla Hernandez immediately elevated the girls basketball program, but few could have expected this cyclone-like turnaround.

All season, they showed their might, sweeping through the CHSAA. And Thursday night brought another Gael-force win as St. Mary's defeated Holy Trinity, 68-42, before its home crowd on Senior Night.

"I first wanted to transfer here and my friends said, 'Why don't we come, too?' " Bautista said of the sophomore trio's decision to leave Mary Louis Academy in Queens. "We decided to stick together."

So the Big Three took their talents to Manhasset. The Gaels went 12-14 last season but now are in serious title contention for the first time in three years.

"It's awesome seeing them back at the top and having a chance to do things like we did," said Shannon Flynn, the daughter of coach Tom Flynn. She led St. Mary's to the state Class A final as a senior in 2010. "This team looks dominant again," she said, "so I have all the confidence in them."

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And why not?

Bautista, the slick-dribbling point guard, had 13 points and four assists before sitting out the second half to rest a sore wrist. Hernandez, the sharpshooter, scored 10 points, including two three-pointers. Augustus, the 6-foot power forward with guard-like handle, added six points, six rebounds and five blocks for St. Mary's (20-2 overall, 14-0 CHSAA).

"When kids like these come here," Tom Flynn said, "as a coach, your job is to just not mess it up."

This, obviously, was another tidy performance. Bautista's running floater from 10 feet gave St. Mary's an early 4-2 lead that wasn't relinquished. Danielle Waithe (12 points) hit three three-pointers in the second quarter and the Gaels led 43-16 at halftime.

Elizabeth Limonta added six points and six rebounds and Alyssa James had five points, 10 rebounds and four blocks for St. Mary's, which hosts the CHSAA quarterfinals Wednesday.

"We're undefeated right now and that's cool," Augustus said, "but we have to stay focused and make sure we keep it that way."

Kelly Carey scored 24 points and Hannah Woodward had six for the Titans (6-12, 3-10).

"Having two of my best friends with me -- in school and on the court -- made the transition easier," Bautista said, "but the whole team welcomed us, so we're really comfortable here and we've settled in."

And for upcoming opponents, that's unsettling.

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