Alexa Cirabisi leads Massapequa past Freeport
Some shots over the course of a basketball game just feel different.
They don’t necessarily need to come in the final seconds of the fourth quarter or with the shot clock set to expire. It’s more of a ‘You know it when you see it’ vibe. And Alexa Cirabisi hit a timely picturesque basket near the end of the third quarter for the Massapequa girls basketball team on Saturday to perfectly display that.
Cirabisi knocked down a three-pointer before falling to the floor herself with 19 seconds left in the third quarter to take some of the momentum away from a comeback effort as Massapequa defeated host Freeport, 47-40, in Nassau Conference AA-I girls basketball Saturday morning.
“I actually wasn’t sure if it was going in,” Cirabisi said. “From the release point it did look good. [The defender's] foot was on my foot, so I just kind of fell back. It was a tough shot but it went in, so it felt really good.”
The three-pointer gave Massapequa a 39-26 lead entering the fourth quarter. Cirabisi also completed a three-point play a minute prior to the three-pointer to score the final six points of the period.
“They were huge,” said Briana Neary, who added 13 points. “That definitely gave us the motivation and it lifted us up a little bit. We felt like we had the game after that.”
The student-athletes understood the importance of Saturday’s contest as both teams entered tied for first in the conference with 6-1 records.
“We kind of treated this like a championship game,” Neary said. “We’ve been working for this all week at practice. We definitely thought it was going to be a challenge but we were prepared for it.”
Massapequa opened a 14-9 lead after the first quarter and led 22-17 at halftime.
“The mindset was, ‘Who wants it more’ and we wanted it more,” Cirabisi said. “(Freeport) works really hard, but we knew we had to work harder than them.”
Cirabisi scored eight of her game-high 20 points in the third quarter. Taneece Wooden had 14 points for Freeport, which trimmed Massapequa’s lead to 33-26 with 1:38 left in the third quarter before Cirabisi’s final six points of the period.
“She’s our leader and I think she knew that she had to take care of business and show the team what needed to be done,” coach Billy Herr said. “Alexa’s our captain, a four-year starter, and they go where she goes and she keeps pushing so I was very proud of her in that regard.”
Freeport outscored Massapequa, 14-8 in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t complete the comeback following Cirabisi’s baskets.
“We knew Freeport wasn’t going to give up and they got it to single digits so credit to them,” Herr said. “But you want those big shots because it not only hurts your opponent but it lifts your teammates. So more so, I was happy how she took it on her shoulders and brought the team with her.”