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SportsHigh SchoolGirls Basketball

Faith McCombs, Melinda Harris spark Copiague past Lindenhurst

The Eagles start impressively and finish just as well to improve to 9-1 in Suffolk League II.

Copaigue's Melinda Harris carries the ball while being

Copaigue's Melinda Harris carries the ball while being covered by Huntington's Emma Petrizzi on Jan. 21, 2017 at Copaigue. Photo Credit: Bob Sorensen

Melinda Harris launched a full-court pass and hit Faith McCombs in stride for the easy basket. The Copiague seniors work on that play all the time in practice.

“We make eye contact and it’s a go,” McCombs said. “I take off down the court and Melinda throws it.”

The coast-to-coast connection keyed a 10-2 run early in the fourth quarter and helped the host Eagles open a 16-point lead in a 64-45 win over Lindenhurst on Thursday in Suffolk League II. Amaya Williams punctuated the surge with a long three-pointer to close the scoring.

McCombs scored six of her game-high 21 points in the fourth for the first-place Eagles. Harris contributed 15 points, six assists and four rebounds.

“I challenged our whole team to raise their game while our top two players are battling injuries,” Copiague coach Carole Olsen said. “We can’t go very far in the playoffs without a full team effort. We need more than two players to compete at a playoff level. I really liked the effort today.”

Tayanee Peay, the Eagles' leading scorer, scored six first-quarter points and saw limited time thereafter. Briyanna Covington, the Eagles' leading rebounder, was nursing a knee injury and also saw little time.

“They’re both a big part of this team, and we needed to play well and give them some rest,” Harris said. “Peay is such a tremendous player and so unselfish. She’s been pretty banged up.”  

Copiague (9-1) used a 10-2 run to end the first quarter and open a 16-7 lead. Harris keyed the burst when she hit four consecutive free throws in the final 1:02.

“We played well in transition and moved the ball well,” Harris said. “I thought I could have played even better on the defensive end.”

The Eagles extended the run when McCombs crashed the boards and converted an offensive rebound into an easy layup to open the second quarter. Lanyah Ford added a layup off a Peay steal, and McCombs stole a cross-court pass for another layup and a 22-7 lead.

“We were getting after it and putting the pressure on,” McCombs said. “And that was opening up some opportunities.”

Lindenhurst (2-7) used an 8-3 spurt keyed by Nat Gudel's three-pointer to cut a 17-point deficit to 29-17 at the half. Bulldogs freshman Kelly Griffin hit four three-pointers and finished with a team-high 16 points.

“We played well,” McCombs said. “We finished our shots and moved the ball to the open people. It’s a good win.” 

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