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Lady T-Birds Take Flight 

Senior guard Jessica Schwartz charges with the ball up the court during a league game against Connetquot on Dec. 13.

With the high school basketball season starting up just two weeks ago, it hasn’t taken long for the Half Hollow Hills East varsity girls basketball team to spread their wings and take flight to the front of their league.

The Lady Thunderbirds touted a 51-28 win on Friday when they defeated Connetquot in their first league game of the season, which head coach Chick Hamm credited to the girls’ strong defensive effort.

During the Dec. 13 home game, junior forward Kristen McKenzie scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds for Hills East while senior guard Julia Gnieser added 14 points and had 5 assists for the Lady T-Birds. Senior guard Maia Rivers scored 7 points while junior forward Aliyah Minor also added 7 points for the home team.

Early into the winter season, Hamm said his girls displayed good chemistry on the court after playing two non-league games last week, one against Huntington and the other against Harborfields. While crediting the girls’ aggressive play and how they took more shots on net than they have in past seasons, the coach said missed opportunities at the basket can make all the difference in future games against more offensively aggressive teams.

“We’re going to work on having more focus—they get so close [to the net], and I’ve been trying to make them drive to the basket more and need to do that to win,” Hamm said.

The team, comprised mostly of upperclassmen, lost to Harborfields 47-30 and to Huntington 56-38.

The Lady T-Birds were scheduled to play Lindenhurst in a league game on Dec. 17. Their next home game in League II is slated for Friday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. when the girls will take on Walt Whitman.

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