Someone had to step up with Massapequa’s leading scorer sidelined, so junior Helena Salmon took it upon herself to keep the Chiefs rolling.
The guard had 27 points — including her team’s first 17 — to lead Massapequa to a 47-44 overtime win over host Farmingdale in a Nassau AA-I girls basketball game Saturday.
Salmon provided the punch usually produced by freshman forward Gabriella Heimbauer, who is averaging 14.2 points per game this season. Heimbauer sprained an ankle against Freeport on Jan. 20, coach Billy Herr said. So Herr abandoned an inside-outside game plan for a more guard-oriented attack, and it worked for Massapequa (8-1).
“I just figured someone had to step up and fill that void,” said Salmon, whose previous season high was 16 points. “I guess I was feeling it today.”
Salmon, who shot 6-for-8 from three-point range, kick-started the offense in overtime, draining a corner three-pointer less than a minute into the period. Sam Huebner was fouled in the act of shooting and split a pair of free throws on Farmingdale’s next possession, trimming the Chiefs’ lead to 43-41.
Morgan Camarda, who played physically in the second half on defense, was fouled driving to the basket with 1:27 remaining and made both attempts from the line, effectively sealing the win.
Salmon’s three-pointer with 2:52 remaining in the third quarter tied the score at 28, and she made two free throws at the end of the quarter to give the Chiefs a 32-28 lead entering the fourth.
But Farmingdale’s Aisha Smikle (23 points), who sat most of the third quarter because of foul trouble, re-entered the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter and immediately made her presence felt.
She hit a runner in the lane and a layup on consecutive possessions, tying the score at 32. With Farmingdale (3-4) down 40-36 after Camarda’s jumper with 3:18 remaining, Smikle again hit back-to-back layups to send the game to overtime.
The matchup of Camarda and Smikle at point guard was a highlight of a fast-paced game.
“If she pushes me harder, I have to go harder back,” Camarda said after recalling a meeting between the two players last season.
Down a key player, Massapequa played hard Saturday. “Today we tried to speed it up with fast breaks and shoot a lot of jump shots,” Salmon said. “With [Heimbauer], we slow it down and look in the post with the inside-outside game.”
It helps having a player like Salmon who is capable of stepping up when her number’s called.