Meghan Eckel's performance last night against Mattituck was a perfect example of why she is the leader of the Kings Park girls basketball team.
Eckel had a triple-double, scoring 12 points, dishing out 10 assists and totaling 11 steals to lead Kings Park past Mattituck, 57-32, in a non-league matchup.
"It's not only scoring that I'm looking for," Eckel said. "I'm always looking to get my teammates the ball because I am the point guard, I am captain and I'm a senior now."
What was more impressive about Eckel's statistical accomplishment was that she played only the first three quarters, sitting out the fourth with the game well in hand.
Kings Park coach Tom Edmundson said Eckel's play likely will determine how far the Lady Kingsmen go this season.
"Going forward this season she's our leader, she's the one with the ball and she's our go-to girl for just about everything we do," Edmundson said. "Her best games were playoff games last year, which tells me she can play in the big games."
Junior forward Daniele Buoncore came off the bench and matched Eckel's team-high 12 points, adding four rebounds and six steals.
Buoncore transferred back to Kings Park after spending two years at St. Anthony's.
"It's my first year back here and I'm just working hard, learning different plays, doing different moves," Buoncore said.
Kings Park jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The Lady Kingsmen led 12-2 after the first quarter and built the lead to 16 by halftime.
Kings Park lost starting shooting guard Kristen Picciano for the season because of an injury. Edmundson said he was happy to see his team respond well to the early-season adversity.
Starters Majorie Duffel and Marion Kawecki each scored eight points for Kings Park. Forward Lauren Guja had a game-high 13 points for Mattituck.
Both teams struggled handling the ball and aggressive defense led to numerous turnovers and fouls.
"We're trying to get that out of the way now," Eckel said. "Though at the moment we're not capitalizing on every opportunity that we have, we're still pushing hard, which is what we want."
Eckel said Kings Park has high expectations for this season after losing in the county finals to Harborfields last season.
"Last year we ended on a note that we were aiming for but we weren't satisfied, we're still coming back for more this year," Eckel said. "We're looking to go to county finals again and we're going to win this year.
"We're ready and we have unfinished business to take care of."