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Face-paced Fieldston runs past Poly in second half

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Poly Prep appeared on its way to a defensively dominant victory, but things changed quickly after halftime.

Fieldston implemented a one-to-one press that swung the momentum in its direction for an eventual 31–28 home win over the Blue Devils in Ivy League girls basketball on Friday night. Poly was outscored 13–4 in the critical third quarter, helping Fieldston move ahead of them into second place.

“The first two minutes of the third quarter really dictated who was going to win this game,” Poly Prep head coach Mike Junsch said.

Poly, which won the first meeting 39–32, did have two chances to send the game into overtime. Senior Kerri Saputo (seven points) missed a contested corner 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining. Freshman point guard Lilly Warhaftig also misfired on a last-second desperation try. Still, Junsch was happy to be in that position despite his team’s poor play.

“Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and still we were in the game,” he said.

Poly Prep (10–4, 3–3) could not find a rhythm in the second half and struggled with the fast pace that Fieldston (13–5, 6–2) had established. The Blue Devils had previously controlled the ball and tempo, holding Fieldston to only eight points and forcing plenty of turnovers in the first half.

Senior star Jacquie Kennedy scored 10 of her 13 points before the break and was also active on the boards. The Holy Family commit was shut down after that and left her 17 points shy of 1,000 for her career.

Warhaftig, however, was a bright spot. She scored seven points and played aggressive defensive end that led to fast break opportunities. She is best known for her penetration and passing abilities, so she surprised her coach with her scoring. Warhaftig felt someone had to take charge.

“I knew it was a big game and I knew I needed to step up and help my team out,” she said.

Junsch was encouraged by the play of his young point guard, but also by the fact that his team could be in the game until the very last minute despite all the turnovers, missed shots, and poor fouls. Poly has its work cut out to stay right where it is in the division to ensure qualifying for the playoffs.

“We have to finish in the top three in the league to get into the tournament,” Junsch said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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