Farmingdale's Alexis Panariello was admittedly a streaky shooter in Wednesday's Class AA non-conference home game against MacArthur.
After hitting her first six shots and scoring 15 points in the first half, Panariello cooled down and missed her next five. It was no coincidence that Farmingdale's 18-point lead in the second quarter had shrunk to just seven with four minutes left in the fourth, but that's when Panariello heated up again.
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The Lady Dalers' senior point guard hit back-to-back three-pointers and made three key free throws in the final two minutes as Farmingdale held on to win, 51-45.
"In the beginning I knew we had to come out strong, and maybe I got a little tired early in the second half but I knew they were coming back so I had to pick it up," Panariello said. "I was just saying 'keep taking shots,' and I had a few air balls and was getting frustrated, but I kept taking them and it worked out."
Farmingdale (4-0) controlled the first quarter with an active zone that caused problems for MacArthur (3-2), taking a 20-6 lead after one. Panariello went 4-for-4 in the quarter and had nine points. In the second, Panariello hit two three-pointers early to put Farmingdale ahead 30-12, but an 8-0 run sparked by MacArthur's Jen Cozza and Stephanie Volpe cut the deficit to 30-20 at the half.
"Even though we got up we knew they're a good team and they would come back and they did," Farmingdale coach Pete Cerrone said. "That was a gritty game and it gave us a great test."
Farmingdale slowed MacArthur's attack down in the third, responding when the Lady Generals came as close as 32-26. Courtney Irby was a presence in the post at both ends, getting to the free-throw line and disrupting MacArthur's attempts to get the ball inside.
"We had to make sure they didn't get easy layups," Irby said. "Defense is always a key for us."
Farmingdale's clutch free-throw shooting also helped seal the win. The Dalers were 15 of 17 overall, led by Nadine Hadnagy's 5-for-5 effort.
Panariello finished with 24 points, Hadnagy had 11 and Irby and Amanda Hausmann each scored seven.