Carly Greenbaum reminded herself of a simple fact as she stood on the foul line for her fourth free-throw attempt over the final 10 seconds of the contest.
“Shots aren’t going to always fall,” the senior on the Syosset girls basketball team said. “You always have to look past (a miss) and focus on the ones you’re taking now. Not every one is going to fall.”
Greenbaum missed her prior three free-throw attempts but she didn’t let that deter her from putting Half Hollow Hills East in a near-desperate position with six seconds left in the contest. She knocked down her final foul shot for the game’s final point as Syosset defeated host Half Hollow Hills East, 47-44, in non-league action on Wednesday evening.
“One moment doesn’t define a kid,” coach Michael Ferreira said. “Plus she’s had a lot of great moments that’s earned her a couple of misses and we knew she’d make the next ones.”
Greenbaum, who had a game-high 25 points, made five three-pointers in the first half and scored at least four points in every quarter. She missed two foul shots with 9.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But Greenbaum had another opportunity after an offensive rebound by Jaylah McKay followed by a Syosset timeout.
Ferreira said he had no hesitation about getting the ball to Greenbaum again with a two-point lead.
“She’s resilient and she’s prepared,” Ferreira said. “She’s the first one out of our water breaks at practice going to shoot free throws. She shoots them at a high level, we trust her, we have a few girls we trust but we know we trust her. So when she missed those first two, we’re playing the numbers. She knows she’s making the next one because she shoots at such a high level.”
“I want to be on the (foul) line when the game’s on the line,” Greenbaum said. “There were some huge rebounds at the end by the rest of my team and this was definitely a team win. No one could have done it alone.”
Kate Nelmes scored a layup off an offensive rebound to break a tie at 44 for Syosset with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter. Victoria Fazzolari had a key defensive rebound with 42 seconds left and Olivia Mallor secured the game’s final rebound off an intentional missed free throw by Hills East with 1.9 seconds left.
Although Greenbaum was knocking shots down with consistency throughout the game for Syosset, she passed the credit to those passing her the ball before the baskets.
“The whole team was working so hard,” Greenbaum said. “They found me in the right spots and all their hard work was paying off. Whether I made the shot or someone else made the shot, it was a full team effort and a team win tonight.”
Syosset (4-0) led 30-23 at halftime before Hills East (0-1) fought back in the second half. Rose Azmoudeh had 17 points and Ariela Hamilton had 15 points, including knocking down back-to-back foul shots to tie the score at 44 with 1:32 left in the fourth quarter for Hills East.
“You want to play good teams that are well coached and that was our goal here today,” Ferreira said. “We just know that as our schedule starts to ramp up and our non-leagues get harder, by the time we get into conference play, we’re going to be in a good position to compete night in and night out and hopefully make some noise in the playoffs.”
Ferreira also knows he can rely on Greenbaum, the five-year varsity player, as he did on Wednesday.
“She’s an extension of me on the court,” he said. “There’s nothing I know that Carly doesn’t know. There’s nothing we expect that Carly doesn’t expect of herself or her teammates. She’s been doing this at a high level for a long time, so we’re proud to see her lead this team and seal it at the end with the big free throw.”