Manhasset's Jackie Albanese sqaures to the basket for a 3-point...

Manhasset's Jackie Albanese sqaures to the basket for a 3-point shot in the first quarter of a game against Port Washington. (Dec. 20, 2012) Credit: James Escher

To play press-and-run basketball, a team needs strong athletes who can put forth high energy for an extended period of time. The Manhasset girls basketball team has just that, evidenced in its 47-34 victory over Port Washington Thursday in a non-league contest.

Manhasset played a full-court pressure defense in the first quarter that led to a 17-3 run and Port Washington never recovered.

"We have a lot of very athletic kids on the team," Manhasset coach Lauren Majewski said. "We're a very fit team, and we use it to our advantage. Our intensity, our speed and our athleticism get us a bunch of easy buckets."

Led by sophomore Jackie Albanese, who scored 13 of her game-high 22 points in the opening period, Manhasset finished the quarter ahead 23-5. The Indians turned up the pressure early in that quarter, forcing turnovers in the backcourt and converting them into layups. Manhasset (4-1) took its largest lead with 1:23 left in the second quarter at 32-11 on a free throw from freshman Erin Barry.

Port Washington (2-5) came out of the halftime break and started to turn the tables. The Lady Vikings forced turnovers, but couldn't convert on some of their chances and Manhasset still held a 38-23 lead after three quarters.

Port Washington tried to rally in the fourth quarter but could get only as close as 42-30 after a layup from Megan Murphy with 1:30 left. Manhasset went back to its press defense and senior Madison Molinari drilled a three-pointer from the left wing to seal the win.

After starting the season playing man-to-man, the press defense seems to be working well as Manhasset has won two straight.

"We worked our way into learning our strengths and weaknesses as a team," Molinari said. "We now know where we should be on defense and it's working for us."

Molinari finished with 10 points and five steals and Barry added 10 points and six assists.

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