Samantha Auricchio thought she was alone as she drifted toward the three-point line, completely unaware of anyone trailing her. So when the shooting guard was chased down, she was stunned -- so startled, in fact, that she tripped and fell.
"I didn't see it coming at all," she said. "I'll admit I was a little bit scared."
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That was Luke, Auricchio's 8-year-old cousin. He sneaked up behind her after the game as she walked off the court.
Lucky for Garden City, Luke was perhaps the only one Tuesday night who could make its sharpshooter uneasy on the perimeter. Auricchio had 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists as the Trojans shook off a bad start and beat Carey, 72-52, in Nassau A-I girls basketball.
"Once I started getting open off the screens, I was able to knock down some shots," said Auricchio, who hit three threes.
Coincidentally, the spot where she fell was about a foot from where she had nailed a rainbow three at the third-quarter buzzer, pushing Garden City's lead to 53-38.
Becky Reifler added 14 points, including four three-pointers, and her eight steals sparked the Trojans' transition offense, which helped them erase an early 7-0 deficit.
"We didn't panic when we started off slow; we'd beaten them before, so we were confident we could do it again," Reifler said. "We guarded better and our passing was pretty good."
Auricchio's layup -- off a pass from Reifler -- tied it at 18 with 5:38 left in the second quarter and, nine seconds later, Reifler converted a steal into a layup to put Garden City ahead for good.
Taylor Carpentier had seven points, 11 rebounds and four assists for the Trojans (10-2). Kerry McCarraher scored nine points and Tara DeAngelo had eight points, four steals and three assists in addition to her pressure defense.
"We shot a lot of gaps to force turnovers," Carpentier said. "Becky and Tara have quick hands, and they'll reach in and I'm thinking it's gonna be a foul, but they come up with steals."
Victoria Porcasi scored 18 points for the Seahawks (6-6), but Auricchio scored eight in the third quarter as Garden City pulled away.
"Sam's always been an amazing shooter, but she's become a complete player," Trojans coach Anthony Sparacia said. "Now she's hard to stop, and so is our team when we're clicking."
Although Luke might disagree.