By Mitch Silver

Knute Rockne would be proud. Shawn Lincoln, the veteran coach who’s returned to helm the Lady Panthers in 2017, followed his team off the floor at halftime of their home game against Solomon Schechter December 7, passing directly under the scoreboard that showed the game was tied at 10-all. While dominating the boards in the first two periods, the Rye Neck girls missed shot after shot, many of them easy tap-ins.

Whatever Coach Lincoln said during the break, his group returned to the floor a completely different team. This one could shoot, and they reeled off 12 uncontested points in the first five minutes of the third period.

That 22-10 lead became a 33-17 final. So, what magic did the bossman impart to his players?

“I wish I could say it was fire-and-brimstone halftime talk that has allowed us to play the way we have in the second half of games,” Coach Lincoln said afterwards. “But the truth is, we made a couple of minor adjustments. The players simply came out focused and determined to execute the game plan. I couldn't be more proud of the girls to this point in the season with their chemistry and the way they have responded to each challenge.”

A day later, the Panthers met the host team in the Hamilton Tournament in Elmsford. It was an intense game from start to finish. Like the Schechter get-together, it was tied at halftime. And it was all knotted after three.

With just six seconds left in a tied game, the Panthers’ wide-open corner shot rimmed out. However, sophomore Morgan Parker crashed the weak-side boards and scored on a put-back with two second to go for the winner.

The title game against Croton-Harmon was postponed due to snow, and will be played at a later date. Rye Neck took on Hastings post-press time, and then will be off on a well-earned rest until 2018.

Juniors Charlotte Murphy (2) and Elle Katsaros (24) look to cut off the pass.

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