Owls Come up Big in Benefit Game vs. Golden Eagles

The girls’ varsity basketball team hosted its annual benefit game against the Bethpage Golden Eagles on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. The game was dedicated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that offers help for veterans who were wounded during the September 11th attacks. The Owls put on a great performance and came out on top while raising money for a charity that does so much good. When asked about playing in a benefit game, assistant coach Koren Pena said, “Playing a benefit game is always exciting and worthwhile. The Wounded Warrior Project is an outstanding organization, and I’m glad we were able to support them in their mission.”

The last time these two teams faced each other it was a very close contest, but Lynbrook won by a score of 53-44. Entering the rematch, sophomore starter Brooke Mazzei said, “I think we can all agree that we felt very confident about this game. We knew we could beat them as we have already, but we also knew we had to play even better and stronger than we did the last game.”

Lynbrook started off strong, going on a 14-5 run four minutes into the first quarter. After the Eagles made some changes during their timeout, they found a way to put some points on the board, but still could not stop Lynbrook’s electric offense. Senior captain Kaelynn O’Brien had 7 points, and Brooke Mazzei had 10 in the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter, Lynbrook had a comfortable 24-14 lead.

In the second quarter, the Eagles eventually found a way to defend Lynbrook. While the Owls put up 24 points in the first quarter, Bethpage was able to hold them to only 8 in the second and find 14 of their own. Victoria Pfeffer of the Eagles had 9 points in the first and 8 in the second. Going into halftime, Bethpage was starting to close the gap between the score, and they were only down by 4.

During the break, each team made some changes. “Going into the half, I think the plan was to really lock down their best player. Everything Bethpage does, goes through her. So, we knew if we played more aggressively and took away her opportunities to get the ball that they would struggle,” Pena added. In the third quarter, Lynbrook had 11 points while the Eagles only had 8. The Owls were finally able to find their way again.

There was not much action in the third, but both teams showed up to play in the final quarter. Sophomore Kaitlyn Benedict dropped three three-pointers, and Senior captain Tyla Vuotto had 8 points. Bethpage outscored Lynbrook in the fourth quarter, but it was still not enough to secure the win. Victoria Pfeffer finished with 25 points and Kaelynn O’Brien had 17.

Lynbrook got into a groove right from the get-go, and after the game, when asked about how that helped them win, Mazzei said, “Since we came out with an early lead, we had control over the tone and pace throughout the game which ultimately helped us come out on top.” And when asked about how confident the team is and what has been working this year, Vuotto said, “The team has had great chemistry right from the beginning. We have a lot of depth, which has helped us play fast and push the ball up the court. We have really high expectations going into the playoffs and are super confident.”

With this win, Lynbrook swept Bethpage 2-0 this year and secured the top seed in their conference. This is one of the best Lynbrook girls’ varsity teams seen in a while, and players should feel pretty confident heading into their next game. Playoffs are around the corner, and Lynbrook is headed in the right direction. When asked how she deals with the pressure in close games and when the spotlight is on her, O’Brien said, “It has been a long journey, but now that I am a senior, I feel more confident.”