Not only did Ward Melville clinch a playoff spot in Suffolk Class AA with a 47-39 win over Sachem East Friday night, but they did something no team has done since 2006. Ward Melville handed the Flaming Arrows their first league loss in five years snapping a 61-game league winning streak for the defending state Class AA champions.
“Every girl who took the court did a great job,” Ward Melville coach Lawrence Combs said. “I’m really proud of the defensive performance. We worked on it for days. We played great man-to-man and played great help defense off screens.”
Junior guard Caysea Cohen had 19 points, eight steals, and five assists. She usually brings the ball up court, but Kelsey DeGraw split point guard duties with her against Sachem East. Vanessa Pryor added 14 points. Pryor requested to guard
Meagan Doherty before the game and Combs obliged. Doherty scored 15.
Megan Murtagh had eight points and 13 rebounds for Ward Melville (7-6, 7-4 League I).
Ward Melville has a nucleus of juniors and most didn’t play significant minutes last season. After a slow start, the Patriots have won four of five.
“I believe this will propel us,” Combs said. “It gives us a lot of confidence to beat one of the best teams on Long Island.”
The loss by Sachem East (12-2, 10-1) is good news for Lindenhurst (13-2, 10-1). The teams meet Friday at Lindenhurst. Sachem East won the first matchup, 56-51. Sachem East also plays Longwood and Brentwood in league play, while Lindenhurst faces Brentwood and Patchogue-Medford.
"I give Ward Melville a lot of credit," Sachem East coach Matt Brisson said. "They were well prepared and played great."