Dakota Evans of South Side prepares for a free throw...

Dakota Evans of South Side prepares for a free throw attempt against Bethpage during a Nassau Conference AA-3 girls basketball game at Bethpage on Tuesday. Credit: David Meisenholder

Few rosters have been hit with injuries as hard as the South Side girls basketball team. The Cyclones recently added star senior guard Kyla Murphy, a Newsday Top 100 selection, to that list after she suffered a rolled ankle that will keep her sidelined a few weeks. Tuesday was South Side’s first game without Murphy, who is now the team’s fourth injured starter. But, after a slower start, the Cyclones proved they have enough on the roster to compete.

“Having [Murphy] out there is one of the best parts of our team, but also not having her out there gives other girls on the team the chance to shine,” said Ellie Lennon, a sophomore guard. “And show that they can do what she can do.”

South Side defeated host Bethpage, 59-49, in a Nassau Conference AA-III girls basketball game on Tuesday. Dakota Evans led the Cyclones with 21 points and Lennon added 16 points. Four South Side players scored at least six points.

“It really teaches us how we have to come together and be there for our teammates that are hurt and are hurting by not being able to play,” Lennon said. “At the same time, we have to all step up and show we can do this without all of our players.”

Evans scored 11 of her 21 points in the second quarter as South Side opened a 29-22 lead at halftime after holding an 11-8 advantage after the first quarter. Evans made five three-pointers, with three coming in the second quarter.

“In the beginning, I really couldn’t hit anything,” Evans said. “[My shots] kept bouncing out, so it was just relieving and it got me personally going. And then I think the rest of the team really started taking off and all started hitting shots.”

South Side (7-1) went on a 15-4 run over three minutes to take a 44-28 lead with 3:35 left in the third quarter and gain control of the contest. Lennon scored seven of her 16 points over the first four minutes of the third quarter. Katie Cusack had 16 points for Bethpage (4-4).

Coach Dan Ferrick said many teams deal with injuries throughout a season and one of the toughest challenges is players getting used to new lineups. He said it’s an adjustment but after the slow start on Tuesday, the Cyclones started to click.

“Every girl on the team saw minutes today and that’s the benefit of it,” Ferrick said. “We are playing different girls at different spots to see who can do what, so that’s the benefit of it.”

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