With the game on the line, Madison Taylor took over to propel the Wantagh girls’ basketball team to a conference victory from behind over neighborhood rival Seaford.
Led by six early in the fourth quarter, Taylor scored the game’s next eight points in a dominant final period in the Warriors’ 46-41 home win on January 5. The senior point guard has 13 of her 24 points, a record. in the fourth quarter when Wantagh outscored Seaford 17-8.
“She was a beast in that fourth quarter and got back into play,” Wantagh head coach Stan Bujacich said of Taylor, who also finished with 12 rebounds and six steals. “She is a very physical player and she is a force that goes to the basket.”
After Danielle McHugh ended Wantagh’s 0-0 streak with a three-point shot that gave Seaford a 40-39 lead, Taylor responded with a long-range shot from beyond the arc. that gave the Warriors the lead in earnest. Then hanging on to a point lead with less than a minute to go, Taylor forced a steal and traveled coast to coast for a layup that brought the score to 44- 41.
First-year goaltender Skylar Mondelli converted two free throws with eight seconds left to score the victory. She finished with 10 points.
“We’ve always been told not to give up and to make sure we have more heart than the other team and do all the little things,” said Taylor, an all-counties reigning player who will play at women’s lacrosse at Northwestern next time around. year. “The victory was so good, especially with everything that happened with Covid and that we were able to stay together and work together. “
A 10-2 Seaford streak between the end of the third quarter and the final period gave the Vikings a 37-29 lead. Second-year guard Amanda Williamson scored six points in the Seaford run, including two back-to-back baskets early in the fourth quarter before Wantagh finished with a 17-4 push.
Seaford took a 9-0 lead to open the game and led 18-14 at halftime. The Vikings were led by 11 points each by Brooke Surace and Alexandria Leggio.
“It’s a tough loss,” said Seaford first-year head coach Stephanie Bartkus. “We knew Madison Taylor would be hard to stop and she came out strong in the fourth quarter.”
Wantagh (3-1 Conference AV) and Seaford (2-1) will face off in a rematch on February 2 at 7 p.m. at the Vikings’ home. The Warriors, who were deprived of second-highest goalscorer Juliana Cerasi on Wednesday due to illness, have battled shorthanded for much of the season after losing co-captains Ava Kornbluth and Julia Allen to injuries .
“For me this is one of the most satisfying victories we have had in our program in years,” said Bujacich. “We had some big playoff wins, but for the regular season it’s up there.”