Our Lady of Mercy wins in overtime 44-43 at a...

Our Lady of Mercy wins in overtime 44-43 at a CHSAA girls basketball game against St. Anthony's in Syosset on Friday. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Meghan Andersen is always practicing free throws, but it didn’t make her any less nervous on the line down three in regulation Friday.

The senior forward was fouled on a three-point attempt with 2.3 seconds remaining and drained each free throw. A subsequent stout defensive play forced overtime.

Once again, Andersen came through with a couple of baskets in OT and directed the defense to lead Our Lady of Mercy over St. Anthony’s, 44-43, in CHSAA.

“[Defense] is normally one of our weaknesses, especially help defense,” Andersen said. “So that’s something our coach continuously gets into our heads that that’s what we need to work on.”

Andersen anchored the paint for Our Lady of Mercy (13-3, 7-2), contesting what seemed to be every shot St. Anthony’s (12-6, 6-3) attempted in the paint. She played every minute of regulation and overtime, recording 10 blocks and 13 rebounds to go along with her 28 points.

Andersen acknowledged that her team isn’t very tall, which left many teammates mismatched. She stepped up and led on defense to ensure the team came out on top.

“I feel like it’s my job to help them get [to the right spot],” Andersen said. “They know where to be, but it’s important that we get them in the right spot.”

Offense isn’t a worry for Andersen. She’s able to pick her spots with how smoothly her teammates can swing the ball around the key. Though she admitted that St. Anthony’s length and quickness made it more challenging.

That said, Andersen knows how crucial this win was. Our Lady of Mercy moves into sole possession of second place in the CHSAA with a few regular-season games remaining.

“We were down one of our players today,” Andersen said. “Everyone stepped up. A sophomore came up to start and played the majority of the game. It just shows that we can do it. It was a close game. It says that as long as you have the heart and effort, [you’ll be good].

A CHSAA title is in sight, and head coach Randy Todd knows that to raise the trophy, the Mustangs will likely need to take down St. Mary’s in the playoffs.

“[The win] gives them a lift, some motivation,” Todd said. “It definitely helps us, and we just have a couple more games and we’ll have that two seed. It’ll make our life a little bit easier when we come to the finals.”

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