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SportsHigh SchoolGirls Basketball

Ofili scores final 5 in Uniondale's victory

Lauren Johnson of Mepham crashes to the floor

Lauren Johnson of Mepham crashes to the floor as she, Siara Lowry, left, and Sakara Hester-Torres of Uniondale battle for the ball. Uniondale won, 59-57. Photo Credit: Photo by Craig Ruttle

It wasn't until the final buzzer that Ifeanyi Ofili and the Knights finally thought they had control of the game.

After Siara Lowry hit a three-pointer to give Uniondale a 54-53 lead, Ofili scored the Knights' final five points as they held off Mepham to win, 59-57, in a sloppy, back-and-forth girls basketball game Tuesday highlighted by questionable calls on both ends.

With 40 seconds left, Ofili scored on a drive in the lane, drawing contact and the whistle. As the Knights celebrated the basket, the referee signaled for a charge, calling off the basket and giving possession back to Mepham. The foul was Ofili's fifth, sending Uniondale's leading scorer to the bench.

On the ensuing possession, after a missed jumper by Mepham, Uniondale corralled the rebound near the sideline but stepped out of bounds, giving Mepham one last opportunity with 4.1 seconds remaining.

Alex Leung took the in-bound at midcourt, tried to split the defenders and flung up an off-balance desperation shot that drew air as time expired. Leung, the Conference II Player of the Year last season, finished with a career-high 31 points. Kristen O'Brien scored 15 points for Mepham (0-2).

Uniondale (2-0), which trailed 28-25 halftime, had four players in double figures led by Ofili with 18 points. Lowry had 13 and Myajha Elston and Aliyah McDonald 10 each.

With her team still struggling to find its offensive rhythm, Uniondale coach Danielle Nicol was happy to walk away with a win.

"It was a combination of really focusing on defensive possessions and taking what we could get offensively that allowed us to get the victory," she said. "We haven't found the right combinations yet. We have a decent amount of experienced players and also young players that are good. We are trying to find out the best place to use them in game situations."

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