Jaxie Cestone hits key free throws, layup in Kings Park's girls basketball victory over Mineola
With her brow furrowed and her eyes determined, Jaxie Cestone radiated resoluteness on the court.
The senior guard/power forward never looked nervous as Kings Park defeated Mineola, 58-54, on Thursday afternoon in a non-league girls basketball contest.
“We mentally prepare ourselves every day in practice,” Cestone said. “It feels no different when it’s game time.”
Cestone sank 12 of 14 free throws and finessed a layup to put Kings Park ahead with 25 seconds remaining en route to scoring 20 points.
Kings Park took a 49-38 lead, but Mineola’s Kenney twins made sure the double-digit lead didn’t last long. Caitlin Kenney scored 10 of her 28 points in the fourth quarter, including a three-pointer with 35 seconds left that brought Mineola within 54-52. Seconds later, Elizabeth Kenney hit a layup to tie it at 54.
Gianna Zawal followed Cestone’s tiebreaking layup with a bank shot to close out the scoring.
“We focused too much on trying to slow down the game and let them take control of the tempo at the end,” Cestone said. “But we weren’t going to give up.”
Mineola (2-5) ended the first quarter with a 19-15 lead as the Kenney twins totaled 15 points.
Two free throws by Cestone gave the Kingsmen their first lead at 28-26 and junior center Ryan Currier scored at the buzzer to make it 30-26.
“Jaxie helped keep us in the game,” Kings Park coach Tom Edmundson said. “Once we continued getting to the foul line and she was able to keep finishing for us, it became fuel for the whole team.”
Kings Park (6-2) took an 11-point lead in the third quarter after a switch from man-to-man to zone trap. Currier scored eight points and Dana Menier made her third three-pointer of the game to give Kings Park a 49-38 lead.
“We played really smart, especially coming out of halftime,” Edmundson said. “We were picking up a lot of offensive rebounds and then were able to burn the clock once we had a decent lead.”