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SportsHigh SchoolGirls Basketball

Smithtown West's Center scores school-record 49

Senior Shneeka Center eclipsed her own school record by scoring 49 points, including 18-for-25 shooting from the field and 13 of 17 from the free-throw line, for Smithtown West in a 75-57 win over Copiague last night in League IV girls basketball.

The Davidson-bound forward scored 19 in a 29-16 third quarter when Smithtown West (11-1) turned a two-point halftime advantage into a 59-44 lead.

It was Center's third 40-point game this season, all coming in the past four games. In Tuesday's 70-56 win at Bellport, Center eclipsed 2,000 for her career.

"I'm blessed to be able to do what I am doing," said Center, who also had 15 rebounds and 11 blocks. "As a team, we just picked it up and they couldn't react. We moved the ball better and played good defense."

Center's previous high of 41 came in a 78-68 loss to Riverhead last Thursday. She said it was nicer to do it in a victory. "Obviously it's better to do it in a win, because everyone benefits from it," she said. "If I come out thinking I have to score, it becomes pressure. It's more fun when I don't think about it."

And Center separates her defensive responsibilities. "The defensive effort never gets lowered," she said, "even if my shots aren't falling."

Sara English added 20 points and 15 rebounds and Annie McCutchen had 10 assists for the Bulls. Chelsea Williams had 23 points for Copiague (8-4).

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