Lady Bucs Earn First County Championships

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The high school’s varsity girls basketball team captured their first-ever Class A and Small School county championships with thrilling come-from-behind February playoff victories over Mattituck and Commack.

The Lady Bucs went 12-0 during the League V regular season to win their first league title since 1985. After beating Shoreham-Wading River, 61-40, on Feb. 13 in the opening round of the playoffs, they defeated Hampton Bays, 73-56, on Feb. 16 in the second round.

In the third meeting of the year for the two teams, Islip met defending county champions Harborfields for the Class A championship on Feb. 19 at the Selden campus of Suffolk County Community College. By halftime, Islip was trailing by eight points, but came back out and put Harborfields away for good by a score of 52-41. 

In the next game, Islip took on Mattituck for the Suffolk County Small School championship game, held Feb. 24 at SCCC’s Brentwood campus. The Lady Bucs were again down at halftime, this time by five points, but team captains Caleigh DeCaprio and Taryn Ohmiller helped ramp up the intensity level, and Islip blew out Mattituck in the second half to win, 64-46.

On Feb. 26, the Lady Bucs battled top-rated Commack – winner of the Large School title – for the overall Suffolk championship at Stony Brook University’s IFCU Arena. Ohmiller (who will attend Stony Brook this fall on a lacrosse scholarship) needed just seven points to reach the 1,000-point scoring milestone for her four-year career, which she attained in the first quarter, and the game was momentarily stopped so that she could receive congratulatory flowers from Islip coach Coach Dave Goodman and a game ball presented by Section XI basketball coordinator Kevin O’Reilly. The Lady Bucs held a one-point advantage at halftime, but Commack came back to defeat Islip, 51-44, in what Goodman described as one of the most competitive overall finals in the last decade.

The team’s last game was the Long Island championship at St. Joseph’s College, where they fought Nassau Class A champ Floral Park for a trip to the state championships. It was a tight game throughout, and the Lady Bucs cut the deficit to three points with less than three minutes remaining, but in the end, Islip lost, 62-53. Ohmiller and fellow standout Sanne van Poelgeest were named to the All-Tournament team, an award given to only seven players.

At the All-County awards banquet on March 9, all five of Islip’s starters – DeCaprio, Julia Hande, Meg Oberg, Ohlmiller and van Poelgeest – were recognized as All-League athletes. Oberg, Ohlmiller and van Poelgeest were also named to the All-County team, and Hande was named All-Conference. Cheyenne Coughlin and DeCaprio were named Academic All-County, and van Poelgeest was named League V MVP. Goodman was awarded League V Coach of the Year and BCANY Suffolk County Coach of the Year.

“It was a great season that included one month of playoffs, including six intense playoff games, five of which were televised,” said Goodman. “This was a fantastic group of student-athletes, that I will never forget.”

The 2016 Lady Bucs included seniors Gabriella Ciardullo, Coughlin, DeCaprio, Hande, Oberg and Ohlmiller; juniors Emma Baumbusch, Tameya Bostick, Holly Iafrate, Grace MacGibbon, Marina Magoulas, Hannah Olatunde, Carly Sheppard and van Poelgeest; and sophomore Tatiana Alfred.