Mepham girls basketball had its 18-game conference winning streak snapped Friday in a 41-36 loss to Long Beach, but still has its sights set on capturing another Nassau Conference AA-III title.

"We had gone over a year without losing a conference game but sometimes you need a wake-up call," Mepham coach Jim Mulvey said. "You lose and people say, 'Hey, what's wrong with your team?' But nothing's wrong with us. We just didn't shoot well [Friday] but we're still the same hardworking group. We were back in the gym [Saturday] and it was our best practice of the year."

Mepham had an uncharacteristically cold shooting night at Long Beach, as its top three scorers -- Nicole Castaldo, Mary Galgano and Ally Murphy -- totaled just nine points. In each of Mepham's previous games this season, at least two of those three players have scored in double figures, leading the team to early wins over top teams such as MacArthur and Herricks.

Still, Mepham's 8-1 conference record keeps it in prime position to win a third straight conference title and fourth in five years. The team is currently tied atop the standings with Herricks, which the Pirates beat Jan. 8 on Murphy's three-quarter-court buzzer beater.

With five games remaining and one more with Herricks on Feb. 5, Mepham will be the conference champion if it wins out.

"We said to our girls, 'all we've done is lost one game,' " Mulvey said. "There's the whole rest of the season and we control our own destiny."

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