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Remi Sisselman sizzles for Half Hollow Hills East in win over Smithtown West

Half Hollow Hills East guard Remi Sisselman (11)

Half Hollow Hills East guard Remi Sisselman (11) controls the ball against Smithtown West forward Kira Pirrera (11) during the fourth quarter of a Suffolk girls high school basketball game at Half Hollow Hills High School East on Sunday, Feb 21, 2021. Credit: Brad Penner

The Half Hollow Hills East girls basketball team scored 16 points in the fourth quarter on Sunday.

They all belonged to guard Remi Sisselman.

She converted all four of her free throws, nailed two NBA range three-pointers and hit three shorter baskets to help Half Hollow Hills East hold off Smithtown West, 56-46, in a Suffolk League III game in Dix Hills.

The Bucknell-bound Sisselman finished with a season-high 39 points, including six three-pointers and all seven of her free throws. She was 13-for-27 from the field and boosted her average to 27 points per game.

"She has excellent range and they’re getting her open off the screens," Smithtown West coach Katie Combs said. "She’s a scorer and is going to get points regardless."

Smithtown West (2-3) drew within 43-40 on a driving layup from Nikki Mennella with 5:23 left. Sisselman responded with a short jumper and a long three-pointer for the 48-40 lead.

"She had some good looks and we live and die with her shooting," Half Hollow Hills East coach Adam Cirnigliaro. "Remi has earned that respect. The defense usually sends two players to cover her or they use a box-and-one defense. She’s used to shooting off the dribble."

The first half was back and forth with great hustle plays by both teams and excellent team defense. Mennella went aggressively to the basket early and her three driving layups kept the Bulls close. Her last drive of the first quarter gave Smithtown West a 10-9 lead before Sisselman scored off an offensive rebound just before time expired to give the Thunderbirds an 11-10 lead.

"Smithtown is a well-coached team and they move the ball well," Sisselman said. "Mennella is super quick at the guard and they play a real good defense."

Hills East (4-1) got a lift from Tami Sharoni and Alyssa Studdert midway through the second quarter. They hit back-to-back threes for a 25-18 advantage, giving the Thunderbirds their largest lead of the first half. The Bulls closed to 29-24 after Mennella ended the half with two free throws.

"Nikki is a three-sport athlete and she hustles," Combs said. "We’re missing four players and we hung in there."

Smithtown West's Laura Luikart, who scored eight points in the first half, had six in the third quarter to help offset the sizzling Sisselman, who had 23 through three quarters.

"Sharoni came off the bench and gave us great defense on Mennella," Cirnigliaro said. "And Anastasia Barone was also a key in the defensive effort."

In the end it was about Sisselman and her shot.

"I was a little strong early on and maybe shooting a little too far out," Sisselman said with a laugh. "But I figured it out."

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