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Paris Hodges, cousin Kesi Goree help Southampton win LI Class B title

Southampton senior Paris Hodges, left, and senior Kesi

Southampton senior Paris Hodges, left, and senior Kesi Goree celebrate after their team's 42-35 win over Cold Spring Harbor. (March 7, 2013) Credit: James Escher

Southampton girls basketball keeps it in the family.

With a set of twins and two sisters with another cousin on the team, the Mariners rely heavily on their natural bonds, and Thursday night's Southeast Regional semifinal / Long Island Class B championship was no exception.

In the fourth quarter with Southampton down by one, Paris Hodges, her sister Noel, and their cousin Kesi Goree combined for eight points and Cassidy Guida scored five more with her sister Carley helping to spread the floor, as Southampton came from behind to defeat Cold Spring Harbor, 42-35, at Hofstra.

Southampton (15-4) earned its second consecutive Long Island Class B championship and will play powerhouse Irvington (20-2) in the Regional final Friday night at Hofstra at 6. Cold Spring Harbor finishes 18-4.

"We've all been playing with each other since third grade. We're a family," Paris Hodges said. "We know each other's go-to move . . . We're just a team. It's the best."

Added Noel Hodges: "It's just chemistry."

With the Seahawks leading 32-29 after three quarters, Paris Hodges opened the fourth with a baseline jumper to cut the Cold Spring Harbor lead to one and then gave Southampton its first lead of the game with 5:47 left as she cut to the basket and finished to make it 33-32. Noel Hodges made it a three-point game on a give-and-go with her sister, and Goree's putback made it 37-32 with 4:23 left.

After Cold Spring Harbor cut the lead to three, Cassidy Guida nailed a three-pointer from beyond the men's three-point line at the top of key to all but seal it, putting the Mariners up 40-34 with 1:38 to go.

Southampton outscored Cold Spring Harbor 13-3 in the fourth quarter.

"That's my role on the team. They count on me to be the shooter," Cassidy Guida said. "I just knew I had to keep shooting."

Southampton coach Rich Wingfield said the Mariners also switched from a man to a zone defense in the fourth quarter, bringing 5-8 Dominique Taylor off the bench to provide a defensive spark.

Taylor made an impact, finishing with 11 rebounds, four points, a block and a steal.

"We went to a zone and played bigger and put Dominique Taylor in," Wingfield said. "And we can't say enough about her."

Added Goree: "We picked up our defense. We were in man-to-man, but they're a great driving team so we went to a [zone] which is new to us, but we executed and it worked."

Noel Hodges (nine points) brought the Mariners back in the third quarter after Kelly Vassallo had put the Seahawks up by five early in the period. But with the score tied in the closing seconds, Katie Durand (eight points) hit a three-pointer from the wing as time expired to give Cold Spring Harbor the three-point advantage heading into the fourth.

Cold Spring Harbor consistently attacked the basket in the first half and led 13-10 after one and 21-20 at halftime.

Paris Hodges had 10 points and seven rebounds and Goree finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Southampton will now look to avenge its 30-point defeat to Irvington in last season's Class B Southeast Regional final.

"We're a whole different team than we were last year," Goree said. "We're ready to really show what we can do."


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