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New Hyde Park Girls Basketball Falls to Herricks in 2010 Holiday Classic Final, 51-43

Missed lay-ups and close defensive coverage by Herricks plagued New Hyde Park.

The suffered a cantankerous, 51-43 loss at home to the Highlanders in the 2010 holiday classic final Thursday afternoon after in round one the previous afternoon. New Hyde Park came in second place in the tournament.

This year's holiday classic was the first since 1984 and featured some feverish action from the fearsome girls of New Hyde Park.

The Gladiators' game plan in the final was the same as usual - execute precise passes to the inside and coax the ball into the net. Although Herricks was able to counter their moves during this game, the New Hyde Park girls had many things to be proud of.

Heroes: Senior center led her squad with 19 points coming off of a 22-point game the day before. Unfortunately, the hoop seemed to spit out a number of lay-up attempts that would have raised her stats considerably. Her final point tally though as well as eight boards and three blocks are certainly nothing to scoff at.

Sophomore Gabriella Tomasini brought her patented quickness to the game and zipped the ball down court. The Highlanders did not give her much room to work the ball towards McCullagh, but she was still able to do damage with five assists and some unassisted drives. In addition, her higher shot frequency paid off. The galloping guard ventured several more jumpers that found net, including a clutch three pointer in the fourth quarter.

The reliable Maria Katsoulis rounded out New Hyde Park's MVPs. The senior forward earned a hearty 10 points, most of which came from under the net. She was also a rebounding force to be reckoned with, gathering 12 in total.

Turning Point: Herricks started the game off by missing many outside shots. They were also not in top form at the foul line. However, they started hitting a great deal of outside shots towards the end of the first half, bringing them a fresh start in the second half.

Quotable: "Herricks did a very job breaking down our defense and beat us on man-to-man," said New Hyde Park Head Coach Hugh Flaherty.

Flaherty also touched on his team's numerous failed inside shot attempts. "We are a team that feeds off of the post," he said, "and we missed some key lay-ups."

Bottom Line: The Highlanders neutralized the Gladiators from the get-go by intercepting their passes and preventing their fast-breaks. Their extremely tight defense kept the Highlanders from getting trampled and  they only got stronger when they started sinking shots. They also managed to hold the line without fouling, thus preventing Gladiator sharpshooters from racking up free throws.

The Gladiators mounted a comeback in the second half of the fourth quarter, but their starters were looking fatigued. The Highlanders gave up the ball via traveling, but New Hyde Park could not capitalize and only made the problem worse with a careless technical foul, backcourt violation and some other fouls.

Who's Next? New Hyde Park will travel to Westbury to face the Green Dragons on Jan. 4, but until then the team will "practice and sharpen up our skills," said Flaherty.

1 2 3 4 F New Hyde Park 10 12 6 15 43 Herricks 3 19 19 10 51

Point Statistics

Ciara McCullagh 19 points Gabriella Tomasini 12 points Maria Katsoulis 10 points Victoria Lofaro 2 points

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