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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

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Girls’ Basketball Pays Homage in Senior Game

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Sean Strohofer
Devaney earns her flowers.

The girls’ varsity basketball team held its annual Senior Night game on Thursday, Feb. 8, where they honored seniors Mikayla D’Ambrosio, Grace Devaney, and Mackenzie Casey for their time with the team. The Owls (16-3) went into the game with a clear goal: clinch the number-one seed of Conference A-1. Thanks to key contributions from some of their invaluable players, as well as game-clinching free throws from freshman Jessie Vuotto, the Owls were able to head into the playoffs with a first-round bye.

Coach Koren Pena admires this year’s senior class, of which were very important to the team’s success throughout the season. “I love these seniors; they’re not just fantastic players, but they’re [also] fantastic people. They come ready to work so hard every single day, and I’m so happy they got to feel this win on their senior night,” Pena said.

Senior guard Ambrosio played in her final regular season home game on Senior Night. Before the game, her teammates spoke kindly of her to commemorate her time with the program. When asked about getting the win on such a special night, D’Ambrosio was ecstatic with the result of the season finale. “It’s a special moment to celebrate our hard work and dedication throughout our high school journey. Not only does it show our appreciation for their contributions to the team, but it also creates a memorable and meaningful experience for the seniors themselves,” D’Ambrosio said. The senior scored two points, grabbed three rebounds, and recorded two assists as part of a great team effort. “Winning the game adds an accomplishment to the night, making it even more special for everyone involved,” the guard added.

D’Ambrosio beams for a photo. (Sean Strohofer)

Unlike most of their games this season, the contest was very close. Lynbrook normally runs away with games in the first quarter, but against a strong Wantagh team, it was a match made in heaven for a great season finale. After the first half, Lynbrook would trail by two points: 24-22.

The second half was not much different than the first. A neck-and-neck game would carry out late into the fourth quarter, with the game tied and less than 30 seconds on the clock. Wantagh was looking for a late basket to take the lead, but one thing they did not account for was freshman and second-year varsity player Vuotto.

With no real playing time on a stacked team in her first season on varsity, Vuotto would enter her second year with an increased role in the team’s game plan; this trend would continue as the season progressed. A season-ending injury to junior and All-County player Brooke Mazzei late in the season would give Vuotto the chance to step up and help Lynbrook finish the season off strong, which she most definitely did in the final regular season game of her freshman season.

With 9.4 seconds left on the clock, Vuotto would take the ball away from the Warriors and put up a shot, banking it off the backboard and drawing a clutch foul, sending her to the line with a chance to put the game out of reach.

In the final moments, Vuotto was able to calm herself down and close out the game. “I did know how important that free throw shot was, but I told myself to try and treat it as any other free throw,” Vuotto said.

Vuotto’s late heroic antics would add to a great stat line, as she finished the night with a team-high of 11 points, along with 5 rebounds. Juniors Cate Jennings and Sophia Dwyer, along with Casey, had great performances as well, together comprising 24 of Lynbrook’s 45 points.

“Every single person who I called upon to go in and do a job did exactly what they were supposed to do, and they never stopped fighting,” Pena said when asked about the factors that contributed to the win.  “There were players that could’ve tapped out and [said] that they were tired because of how long they were on the court, but they kept fighting, and I think that’s why we won, because of their resilience.”

Casey hugs teammates in honor of her accomplishments. (Sean Strohofer)

With this win, the Owls clinched the top seed in the A-1 Conference in back-to-back years. Jennings, who played an important role in both this year’s and last year’s success, was so proud of all the effort the team showed throughout the year to put them in this great of a position for success. “I have so much love for this team, and I am confident in all of our skills and what we all can accomplish together. This season has had its ups and downs, but through it all the entire team has become stronger altogether.”

Now with their focus on the playoffs, the Owls were looking to make a deep playoff run to Farmingdale State College, and after a blowout victory over No. 8 Island Trees, led by junior Kaitlyn Benedict’s record-setting performance with eight three-pointers made, they were ready to take it all the way. Unfortunately, Lynbrook would fall short at the hands of No. 4 Wantagh, but with their eyes already set on the 2024-25 season, the Owls will look towards their award-winning class of 2025 to take them to the promised land.

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About the Contributor
Sean Strohofer, Managing Editor
My name is Sean, and I am a member of the Class of 2025. I have a deep desire for sports and writing, so you might see me at sports events around town!