As cousins, Mikaiya Moore and Ihnacinse Grady have a good connection with each other since they have played together since they were young. The Copiague duo also play AAU and summer league together and spent last season on varsity.
This season they hope to make a deep run in Suffolk Class AA after losing in the first round last year. Early indications are the young combo is ready to lead Copiague.
Moore, a freshman, had 19 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots and the sophomore Grady had 13 points in a 54-46 home win over Longwood Tuesday in non-league girls basketball. Kiersten West scored 20 of her 23 points in the second half for Longwood (1-1).
"She's an excellent player," Moore said of Grady. "I love how she gets everyone the ball in good spots."
Grady did that in the third quarter as Moore scored nine points to give Copiague (2-0) a 40-30 lead after three. The fourth quarter was a parade to the free-throw line. Copiague had three players foul out and two fouled out for Longwood.
The teams attempted 35 free throws combined in the fourth quarter. West hit a pair of free throws with 1:11 left to bring Longwood within 49-45. Longwood had a chance to make it a one possession game, but missed a jumper with 40 seconds left.
Grady hit two key free throws with 22 seconds left to push the Copiague lead to 52-46. Grady hit all six of her free throws in the final quarter.
"We needed the free throws," Grady said. "We missed too many. I stepped to the line and knocked them down."
Copiague played strong defense throughout, deflecting many passes and made it difficult for Longwood to set up its offense. "They're a really good team," Moore said. "We played really good defense. We just kept it together at the end. Defense wins games."
Moore is going to be a big part of the Eagles winning games. The 6-foot forward gets a lot of attention from the opposition and is expected to be the focal point as a 14-year old.
"She's incredibly talented," Copiague coach Carole Olsen said. "We ask a lot of her, but she can handle it."