St. Mary's freshman Kayla Solomon connected for four three-pointers and...

St. Mary's freshman Kayla Solomon connected for four three-pointers and scored 27 points for the Gaels (8-0) against Our Lady of Mercy on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. Credit: James Escher

St. Mary’s has the Charleston-bound twins, guards Taryn and Taylor Barbot, at the forefront of its talented senior class. But the kids from the freshman class are looking like the next big things already.

Take Tuesday night’s 98-70 win over Our Lady of Mercy Academy inside St. Mary’s gym.

Taryn Barbot delivered 30 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the NSCHSAA leader and defending state CHSAA Class AA champ.

But then there were the first-year shooting guards, Kayla Solomon and Scarlet Cubero, showing their uncanny aim with the basketball and helping the Gaels (13-4, 8-0) withstand 32 points from Fairfield-bound Meghan Andersen and 28 more from Emma Murphy.

Solomon buried four threes and scored 27, and Cubero nailed six threes en route to a 20-point game. And a third freshman shooting guard, Tiana Thompson, scored her five in the final four minutes.

“All three freshmen are going to be very, very good,” coach Kevin White said. “They have a confidence about themselves that they need to play at this level.”

The 5-6 Solomon averaged 17.9 points as an eighth-grader on the Central Islip varsity. Then she moved on to St. Mary’s.

“Because they just recently won the states,” Solomon said. “So I thought this was a way better opportunity than what Central Islip was for me.

“It’s a great experience. My teammates are amazing. And my coach, Coach Kevin, is a really good coach. So I’ve learned a lot since I’ve been here.”

Solomon scored 12 over the first quarter and had 19 by halftime, a big reason why the Gaels owned a 41-30 advantage.

“Usually I don’t play well in this gym,” Solomon said. “But today, I don’t know. I was just making everything.”

OLMA (12-3, 6-2) trailed by five with 4:41 left in the third. Then St. Mary’s defensive pressure rose and the Mustangs struggled at the other end, too.

The score soared to 72-52 in the final minute of the quarter when a turnover led to a Solomon layup.

“I think that we didn’t play defense,” OLMA coach Randy Todd said. “They ran on transition. We didn’t do what we planned to do. Give them all the credit. They shot the heck out of the ball.”  

The only negative for the Gaels came with 3:34 left. Senior guard Tara Murray went down with a knee injury after taking a shot. The Merrimack commit had to be carried off, her status to be determined.

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