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Commack erases 20-point deficit to win Suffolk girls basketball title

Commack's Lauren Maline drives during the Suffolk overall

Commack's Lauren Maline drives during the Suffolk overall girls basketball final where Commack defeated Hauppauge, 52-48, on March 4, 2018 at Farmingdale State College. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Nothing is impossible for the Commack girls basketball team. Time and time again, the Cougars have erased big deficits and come back to win games. Sunday was another example of that resiliency.

After Hauppauge went ahead by 20 points with 1:03 left in the third quarter Sunday, a suffocating pressure defense that forced nine turnovers in 12 possessions and produced a 17-0 run keyed a fabulous comeback as Commack claimed the Suffolk overall championship with a 52-48 victory at Farmingdale State.

The Cougars outscored Hauppauge 30-6 in the final 9:03 to earn their second overall championship in the last three years.

“We’re really never out of a game,” Commack coach Denis Conroy said. “We were down 21 in the fourth quarter last year and came back for a win We beat Longwood at the buzzer, edged Brentwood by two points for a comeback win. Nothing surprises me with these girls.”

Hauppauge took a 42-22 lead on a driving layup by Christina John with 1:03 left in the third quarter, but Commack closed the quarter with five straight points to draw within 42-27. “We could feel the momentum going our way,” freshman Sydney Rosenoff said. “We really picked it up defensively and caused turnovers and opportunities.”

Rosenoff was in the middle of the defensive pressure. She had seven points and four steals as Commack scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter to move within 42-39 with 5:09 left. The Eagles were held scoreless for 4:07 as Commack forced nine turnovers in that span.

“We went into go, go, go mode and our shots starting falling,” said Commack senior guard Casey Hearns, who had eight points.

Katie Kelly’s three-pointer gave Commack a 46-45 lead with 1:47 left and Hearns added a three to make it 49-45. Hauppauge got back to within one when Kayla Bullard (19 points) was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three free throws. But Kelly hit a runner in the lane to make it 51-48 with 19 seconds left and Hearns sank a free throw for the final margin.

“We’re used to being down,” Hearns said, “but we’re never out.”

Hauppauge ended the first half with a 9-2 run for a 26-20 lead, capped by Bullard’s third three-pointer just before time expired. Bullard drilled two more three-point shots in the third quarter as the Eagles extended their advantage to 42-22.

“Commack didn’t start off well and we opened that big lead,” Hauppauge coach Jamie Edson said. “We were in a great spot and didn’t finish. We struggled against their press.”

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