Ward Melville's Addison Dellaporta moves the ball in the third quarter...

Ward Melville's Addison Dellaporta moves the ball in the third quarter during a Suffolk girls basketball game against Longwood on Saturday at Ward Melville. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Many high school basketball teams funnel the ball to one or two players. But at Ward Melville, that star status gets passed around like a basketball cutting through a zone.

Against Longwood on Saturday, that star found itself in the hands of Addison Dellaporta.

The junior scored 13 points to lead host Ward Melville past Longwood, 43-34, in Suffolk League I. Three different players scored in double figures for Ward Melville (5-1), a common occurrence that forces opponents to pick their poison when defending the Patriots.

“We have so much chemistry as a team,” Dellaporta said. “We trust each other, we know where we are on the court and we know we are going to come through as a team.”

The forward also had seven rebounds and two steals, and was the only Ward Melville player to score more than one two-point field goal.

But it was the Patriots’ defense that led them to control the flow of the game, recording 16 steals.

“We knew that we had our offense down, but if we had our defense down, that definitely was going to make us successful,” Dellaporta said.

Coach Andrew Pelosi credited his players and assistant coach, Bruce Levorchick, for the defensive effort. The Patriots opted for mostly man-to-man defense which limited Longwood (6-4) to its lowest scoring game since Dec. 12, 2022.

“We played aggressive man [defense], a lot of teams aren’t used to that, a lot of teams play zone,” Pelosi said. “It brings out the aggressive nature, the rebounding, the steals, the whole thing.”

After trailing 23-11 at halftime, Longwood started the third quarter on a 10-2 run to get within 25-21. But the Patriots answered, outscoring the Lions 10-1 the remainder of the quarter.

Longwood senior forward Ainsley Hololob had 29 rebounds and scored 19 points.

The Lions’ Giselle Harris, who leads her team in scoring and ranks sixth in Suffolk with over 20 points per game, was held to just three points and didn’t record a field goal until late in the fourth quarter. Pelosi credited Ward Melville’s only freshman on the team, Quinlan Heilbron, who guarded Harris for most of the game.

“Every game, whoever their scorer is, we put Quinlan on her,” Pelosi said. “She’s an amazing defender.”

Julia Dank had 10 points and five steals and Grace Balocca added 10 points for Ward Melville, which improved to 8-1 overall this season.

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months