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Lauren Krystall’s 16 points, including a free throw with 5.7 seconds to go, lead Plainedge

Lauren Krystall of Plainedge drives to the basket

Lauren Krystall of Plainedge drives to the basket in a game against Lynbrook. Plainedge won 49-46 in a Conference A-III game on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Any day for Plainedge girls basketball starts with a handshake and some confidence, and on Tuesday night, it ended with Lauren Krystall channeling her teammate’s faith into success.

The sophomore didn’t hesitate to shoot from beyond the arc, putting in two three-point shots with less than two minutes left in the first half to give the Red Devils their first lead. She didn’t slow down, scoring 16 points, including a free throw with 5.7 seconds left to seal the 49-46 win against host Lynbrook in Nassau A-III. Juliana Keenan, her handshake and pass partner made sure she got the chances.

“She’s fire from three,” said Keenan, who had 13 points and nine rebounds. “I have 100 percent confidence any time she has the ball in her hand at the three-point line.”

Krystall’s first-half shots capped a 10-2 run, and Keenan carried a third quarter 6-2 stretch entirely with free throws. Krystall, who also had six rebounds, said the pair working together and the trust her older teammates have given her help her on the court.

“Because she’s an upperclassman, I think it’s saying a lot that she trusts me shooting the ball,” Krystall said of the junior Keenan.

With 2:25 left in the game and Plainedge down one, Krystall strung together a pair of free throws and a jumper to set off an 8-3 run that ended with her final free throw.

“We really wanted to beat them because this would put us in a really good spot,” Krystall said.

Plainedge (6-3) has won its last five, including victories against Floral Park and Glen Cove, two fellow contenders for the conference’s top spot. It lost to Lynbrook earlier in the season and took away lessons to work on.

“We learned that we had to be more aggressive and play good defense against them,” said Ashley Lindsay, who had nine points.

Sophia LoCicero led Lynbrook (6-3) with 16 points, and Kerrin Montgomery and Erin Pender had 12 each. Montgomery’s three with 1:23 left tied the score before the final three free throws.

But in the end it was Krystall’s hot hand that put it away.

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