Abby Korzekwinski’s 18th birthday wasn’t off to the best start.
The Shoreham-Wading River senior basketball guard was held to one point in the opening eight minutes, and she had an injury scare with the Wildcats' trailing in the second quarter.
But after getting her ankle checked by the trainers, Korzekwinski was at her best when the team needed her most. She was scoring, distributing the ball and playing stellar defense as host Shoreham-Wading River defeated Bayport-Blue Point, 57-50, in Suffolk League VI Friday.
“It was definitely a hard start,” said Korzekwinski, sporting balloons on her backpack from teammates. “I was playing slow and then I got hurt so that kind of brought me down. And foul trouble also brought me down. But I knew I had to pick it up and play for my team and hopefully get the win, which we did.”
Korzekwinski scored six of her 15 points in the fourth quarter, including two foul shots to give the Wildcats a 52-48 lead with 37.1 seconds remaining. She also showed off her playmaking ability, finding GraceAnn Leonard for a fast-break layup to break a tie at 48 with 1:17 remaining. Shoreham-Wading River (8-5) finished the game on a 9-2 run, in a second half that featured five ties and nine lead changes. Olivia Monturo led Bayport-Blue Point (9-4) with 27 points.
“Games like this are fun,” Korzekwinski said. “You know it’s going to be a battle the whole way, which is great because it makes us to be who we really are and play how we usually play.”
The Wildcats scored 24 points in the fourth quarter, including seven points from Leonard and six from Hayden Lachenmeyer, often off offensive rebounds.
“I’m not really an outside shooter, definitely not,” Lachenmeyer said. “I don’t drive that much, but I like to work hard under the basket.”
After starting the season 2-4 in league play, Shoreham-Wading River has won six of seven. Coach Adam Lievre said this is more indicative of the season the team expected to have with Korzekwinski providing leadership.
“It’s always amazing seeing Abby and she’s always been a role model to me,” said freshman Sophie Costello, who added 15 points. “Coming in as an eighth-grader, it was really scary, but she was always there and she’s definitely the leader on the team.”
“She’s amazing,” Lachenmeyer said. “The plays that she makes and the baskets she makes, it’s just amazing to see someone like that play.”