Defense Helps Owls Rout Marines in Season Opener

Senior Kaelynn O’Brien driving to the basket against a Marines defender in the second half

Sean Strohofer

Senior Kaelynn O’Brien driving to the basket against a Marines defender in the second half

The Lynbrook girls’ varsity basketball team opened the season on December 1 with a win versus the Long Beach Marines. Lynbrook’s defense stood out all throughout the game, only allowing the Marines to score 17 points throughout all four quarters. Sophomore Kaitlyn Benedict led the scoring for the Owls with 13 points, helping the Owls to rout Long Beach on Thursday night.

Lynbrook started the game off strong, outscoring the opponent by 17 points in the first quarter due to the defense creating great opportunities off of fast breaks. Sophomore Brooke Mazzei scored eight points in the opening quarter, and Benedict and senior Kaelynn O’Brien scored five points each.

With Lynbrook dominating on the defensive side of the ball, Long Beach struggled to regain its footing in the second quarter. With the Owls only increasing their lead, Long Beach was down 36-11 and heading into halftime with a large deficit on the scoreboard.

Coach Stephen LoCicero’s game plan was to always have a fresh pair of legs on the court. “Our defense leads to everything that we do. Eleven girls were able to get into the game in the first quarter, and when we always have an energetic group of girls out on the floor, we will have a lot of success on the offensive end,” LoCicero shared. Lynbrook easily dismantled the Long Beach offense, and when one team takes away another team’s ability to put points on the board, it will have a significant number of opportunities to increase the lead on offense.

O’Brien feels that the intensity seen on defense will be a common theme to watch throughout the season. “Since our defense can be changed in so many different ways, the fast-paced trapping and the defensive caused turnovers which lead to great offensive possessions,” O’Brien shared.

The Owls would continue their blowout in the second half, their pressure never stopping until the final whistle. Long Beach was being outplayed in every part of the game, and the Marines were never able to overcome Lynbrook’s strong first quarter.

Mazzei and O’Brien would end up with 11 points following the final whistle, with O’Brien draining three shots from beyond the arc. Paired with Benedict’s 13-point performance, it was clear that the defense helped propel Lynbrook to a dominant win.

The Owls had great energy throughout all of the game, and with a long season ahead of them, it will be important to maintain it in future games. “We must keep a positive mindset and understand this season isn’t going to be easy, but it will be worth it in the end. All girls will be in the gym giving their all every day to stay prepared for the future,” said Mazzei.

O’Brien feels that this win will give the team confidence and momentum for future games. “This win will only make us work harder,” she said. “We’ll continue the same style while practicing, keeping the same intensity every day since the first day of practice.”

Lynbrook moves to 1-0 on the fresh season and will take the court on December 7 in a tournament at Wheatley High, followed by a series of road games in the following weeks. Look to catch the Owls back in the barn on December 19 when they face the Valley Stream North Spartans in a league game.