Hauppauge caps perfect regular season
Deer Park, NY – It was the final game of the regular season for Hauppauge and Deer Park on Tuesday night, but there was still plenty of business to get settled before the start of the Suffolk Class AA Playoffs get underway on Friday.
Behind the effort of an unlikely star, Kasey Kephart, the Eagles were able to soar into Deer Park and cap off their perfect regular season with the 48-30 victory.
Kephart scored eight of her season-high 12 points in the second half and also contributed 10 rebounds. Coming into the game, the senior who’s heading to C.W. Post next year for lacrosse averaged 3.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, clearly blowing by the stats in the best game of her season.
The win over the defending Suffolk County champs was the icing on the cake for a Hauppauge squad that had to scratch and claw their way to the 54-48 victory in their last encounter on January 19th. “Our win tonight was huge,” Kephart says. “We beat the former county champs, so we just set out to beat them and play as hard as we could.”
“You know going into every season your goal is to be undefeated, whether or not it happens is another thing, you need some luck along the way, we had a couple of close games, but I give these girls all the credit in the world,” says fifth year head coach Jamie Edson. “They are 18-0, and there isn’t a game where we could look back on and say would’ve, could’ve, should’ve, they did it, and congratulations to them.”
Kasey Kephart had a similar feeling to that of her coach’s, “It feels great…we’ve been together for so long and we’ve just been working really hard on and off the court.”
The usual Hauppauge threats of Julie Williams, Lindsey Alfano, and Stephanie Peragallo were quite present in the game as well. Williams along with senior guard Lauren Descalzo were tied for the team’s second-leading scorers with 11 points. Peragallo and Alfano chipped in with 9 and 5 points respectively.
However the night belonged to Kephart. The 5-9 forward was able to use her size and smarts to put her in optimum positioning for the ball, including multiple times where she was able to corral offensive rebounds and put in easy layups.
“We’ve been really hard on rebounding in practice,” says Kephart. That effort on the glass really showed at the end of the first quarter when she was able to cap off the scoring with a hard-nosed bucket that extended her team’s lead to an insurmountable 17-3. In the first half, Hauppauge outrebounded Deer Park 24-13 and an incredible 14-5 in offensive rebounds, truly a dominating aspect of the game.
Despite the offense prowess of the Eagles, the most impressive part of the win was on the defensive side.
Hauppauge was able to force 14 turnovers in the first half and 27 total in the game. Not to mention holding Deer Park’s all-time leading scorer Andrea Desvignes to just 9 points in the game. “These girls really bought into our defense, and they know that we are going to miss shots offensively, but if we play good defense every game, we get a lot of turnovers and easy baskets, and that’s what happened today,” says Coach Edson. “We get a lot of twos, but we also get a lot of transition threes off our defense, and to hold these guys to 30 points, it was really a great defensive effort.”
Not to get lost in the shuffle, was a wonderful moment put on by Deer Park High School and their 15-year head coach Mike Gennaro who saluted his four graduating seniors prior to the game. Desvignes, Kristen Fischer, Melanie Giessen, and Kelsey Dillon were all honored in a wonderful celebration of their time and loyalty to Deer Park girl’s basketball.
So as we move from the regular season into the postseason, what’s next for these two teams?
That’s a good question due to a full slate of games as the rest of the Suffolk ‘AA’ qualifying teams wrap up their regular seasons. Deer Park sitting at 9-5 in conference and 11-7 overall will likely look at mid-range seed. However, the tougher question to answer is about Hauppauge. 14-0 in conference play and 18-0 overall is tough to justify anything but a high seed, though Coach Edson is taking the right approach at the playoffs. “They did everything that was asked of them, I’m hopeful they are rewarded with a good seed, we played 18 games, we had 18 wins. We’ll see…we’re excited for the playoffs and we’re ready to go.”
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