After watching a double-digit lead rapidly evaporate, Commack needed a stabilizing force on the defensive end of the floor.
Enter Katie Kelly.
With the Cougars leading by three with 45 seconds remaining, Kelly found herself on the wrong end of a two-on-one fastbreak, but the senior guard intercepted a pass in the lane for a crucial steal to help the Commack girls basketball team seal a 59-49 victory over Sewanhaka in the Suffolk Shootout at Northport on Thursday night.
“I was just doing my job,” Kelly, who recorded 17 points and nine steals, said. “I wasn’t trying to do too much and I just focused on being a leader and getting everyone else around me to be better.”
A give-and-go layup by Amanda McMahon on the opening possession of the fourth quarter gave Commack a 42-31 advantage, but Sewanhaka quickly stormed back with a 15-2 run to go ahead 46-44 with 4:14 remaining. A blocked three-point attempt and layup by Ashley Cattle gave the Indians their first lead since the 1:51 mark of the second.
McMahon spoke about the role composure played for the defending Suffolk Class AA champions as the momentum dramatically shifted.
“I think the biggest thing when that happens is just staying calm,” McMahon, who added 15 points, said. “Every team falls apart at one point, but the biggest thing is sticking together.”
Ashley Vigliotti knocked down a deep three-pointer for Sewanhaka with 2:32 left and knotted the score at 49. McMahon responded with a three of her own from the right wing to give Commack the lead for good 33 seconds later.
The Cougars then combined quality defense with timely free-throw shooting to come away with the win.
“This was a quality win,” Commack coach Denis Conroy said. “Especially with how rocky things became in the fourth quarter.”
Commack (3-3) applied constant pressure on Sewanhaka (3-3) with the full-court press and gave the Indians fits as they attempted to execute their halfcourt offense.
A spinning layup from the baseline by Kara Feigenbaum with 14 seconds remaining in the second gave Commack a 24-21 lead entering the half. An 8-0 run in the final 2:47 of the first provided Commack with an early 12-10 lead.
Kelly scored six points during the spurt, including a driving layup to cap it off at the 1:25 mark.
“Katie’s a fighter,” Conroy said. “She’s got the heart of a lion. She gets into big situations and doesn’t panic and knows that the play needs to be made.”