2016-02-04 / Front Page

Babylon Girls hoops clinches playoff

Next to last game tonite

by Liam Henry

Babylon girls basketball is heading back to a familiar place…the playoffs.

After falling to Hampton Bays, 47-42, in the Suffolk Class B final last year, the Panthers have been on a quest to overcome that hardship and claim a county title in 2016.

“Extremely excited,” said Shayne Antolini about qualifying for the playoffs again. “I've been wanting to get back to the county championship game since we lost last year.”

Babylon, who currently stands at 10-6 on the season as of February 2, earned their spot in the playoffs with a 31-17 victory over Southampton on Saturday, January 30.

They are playing Center Moriches today at home. The game begins at 6:15 p.m. On Friday, they play Wyandanch at Wyandanch. Game time is 6:30 p.m.

Emily Guerra led the way for the Panthers with seven points in the low scoring affair. Megan Nerney and Julia Veila each added five points apiece, and Amanda Guerra finished with four.

Despite the 31-point output, nine different Panthers got on the scoreboard.

“We like to run through offenses that aren't specific to personnel,” Antolini said. “[It] allows everyone to get open looks.”

Babylon got out to a very fast lead by scoring thirteen points in the first quarter, and was able to balloon that lead to 21-5 by the halftime break. Southampton and the Panthers scored an even six points in the third quarter, and were able to cruise to an easy playoff-clinching victory.

The Panthers got off to a difficult start prior to the New Year. Babylon started 2-4, but since the beginning of January they have won eight of their last ten games.

The hot play as of late can be attributed to the production of the team’s top scorers. Emily Guerra has led the season with 12.3 points per game, Antolini is currently averaging 7.4 points, and Nerney and Amanda Guerra are averaging just over five points per contest.

“We just got accustomed to each other,” said Antolini of their progress after the slow start. “We had a lot of new players and some returners so we had to learn how to play together…its just a matter of working not only harder, but more effectively.”


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