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PLAYOFFS: South Side Girls Basketball Routs Manhasset

Tight defense, clutch shooting leads to opening-round win for Lady Cyclones.

The game started 0-0 ... and that was the closest South Side would come to trailing all day.

The No. 8 South Side Lady Cyclones jumped out to an early lead in Saturday's first-round Class A playoff matchup against the No. 9 Manhasset Indians and never looked back.

South Side junior point guard Juliana Pellegrini led all scorers with 14 points -- 13 of which came in the first half -- and five assists. Junior Hanna Merrifield added 13 points and 10 rebounds while senior Bridget Kiernan added six points and 10 rebounds.

The Lady Cyclones caused four turnovers on Manhasset's first four possessions and started the game on a 9-0 run.

"We tried to make them as uncomfortable as possible," South Side head coach Katelyn Dunn said. "We saw that some of their guards could be pressed, so we wanted to make sure we made them as uncomfortable as they could be and I think the girls did a pretty good job with it."

After the early run, South Side's lead was cut to 11-7 at the end of the first quarter and was only at 15-14 midway through the second quarter, but a 13-0 run to close out the half opened up the game for the Lady Cyclones.

"I think we really moved the ball fast. We were working on that in practice," said Pellegrini, who scored seven points in the second quarter. "We broke their press really well."

Merrifield and senior Jessica Hawley combined for 16 of South Side's 18 third-quarter points and helped put the game out of reach for the Lady Cyclones and set up a quarterfinal showdown with top-seeded North Shore.

"It's going to be a physical game," said Pelligrini of Wednesday's upcoming game against the No. 1 seed. "They're going to be a good team. We just need to carry this energy into Wednesday's game and hope for the best."

North Shore is the defending Nassau County Class A champions. The team went 16-1 during the regular season and has not lost a conference game since 2010, but Dunn said her Lady Cyclones will be as prepared as possible.

"We have a couple of films on [North Shore] and a couple of scouting reports," she said. "We're going to get ready the next couple of days. I'll spend my Saturday and Sunday nights watching film and Monday morning we'll have a good practice planned for the girls."


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