When teams prepare for Massapequa, they have to focus on the Chiefs' big three: 5-10 Morgan Roessler, 6-foot Lauren Van Buren and 6-1 Melanie Hingher.
But the top-seeded Chiefs pride themselves on their depth, and it was a spark off the bench that propelled them to victory in yesterday's Nassau AA girls basketball semifinal.
Meghan McCabe started the second quarter and scored all nine of her points in the first four minutes. That ignited a Massapequa run that blew the game open before halftime in the Chiefs' 64-41 win over No. 4 MacArthur at Garden City.
Massapequa (18-0) will play No. 6 Uniondale in the county final Saturday at LIU Post. MacArthur finishes 15-4.
"She's only a 10th-grader, but she could be in a playoff game and play the same way as if it were a CYO game. She's not pressured by anything,'' coach Shari Roessler said. "It's the difference between us and some of the other teams where we can go to our bench.''
With the Chiefs leading by only four after a quarter, McCabe scored on three straight possessions in the first two minutes of the second quarter -- a basket inside, a three-pointer and a 15-foot baseline jumper -- to build the advantage to 23-12.
Roessler also scored six in the quarter, when Massapequa would lead by 19 before taking a 35-22 edge into halftime.
"I thought that coming off the bench I had to go out and play my hardest,'' McCabe said. "You never know, you can be sitting on the bench the whole game, and I just made all those baskets and felt confident.''
From there, the Chiefs turned to their big guns. Hingher scored eight of her 12 points in the third quarter, when Van Buren added five of her 12 as Massapequa went ahead 54-35 at the end of three.
Stephanie Volpe scored all 13 of MacArthur's points in the quarter, and finished with a game-high 19.
Massapequa returns to the Nassau AA final for the second consecutive season. Last year Baldwin won its third consecutive county championship.
"It feels amazing to be back, and to be undefeated so far is great,'' Van Buren said. "We're going to try to redeem ourselves this year.''