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SCARSDALE, N.Y. — When Scarsdale last faced New Rochelle back in mid-December, the Raiders were left with an overwhelming feeling of regret.
It wasn’t just the fact that Scarsdale had lost, but it was how they lost: a 14-point blowout in one of its worst games of the season.
The Raiders put the game past them but logged the feeling away for the next time they faced New Rochelle.
“We were definitely looking for revenge,” Scarsdale coach Mike Blanco said.
On Wednesday night the Raiders got it, defeating visiting New Rochelle, 57-51. Scarsdale stormed back from a 12-5 first-quarter deficit, taking the lead with under a minute left in the first half. The Raiders did not trail again for the rest of the game.
“The first game we weren’t as prepared,” Scarsdale junior star Shelby Zucker said. “(New Rochelle) was very aggressive and switched up their defenses. This time we were ready for it.”
Zucker led the way for the Raiders with 27 points and six rebounds. She went 12-for-14 from the free throw line and upped her scoring average to 18.5 points per game.
“She’s great,” Blanco said of Zucker. “When all things break down offensively, we have someone who can do it in on her own. A lot of times in the girls game you don’t have someone like that, so it’s important when you do to really take advantage of it. It is an advantage, no question about it.”
Abigail Pearlman added eight points for Scarsdale, including a huge momentum-turning 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. Casey Pearlman (7 points, 9 rebounds) and Amanda Grabanica (6 points, 8 rebounds) did the dirty work down low.
“I think this game we were much more confident,” Casey Pearlman said. “I think we were really prepared for this game.”
New Rochelle fought hard to pull the game close after the lead grew to double digits in the third quarter. The Huguenots pulled within four points with five minutes left in the game, but couldn’t cut it any closer.
“We let them have a couple outside jump shots and they killed us,” New Rochelle coach Bruce Danielle said. “Zucker got going and we just didn’t hit our shots. You have to give them credit; they played tough. That’s the thing about our league; anyone can beat anyone.”
New Rochelle forward Aliya Hayes had 16 points and 11 rebounds and teammate Amirror Dixon added 15 points, six assists and five rebounds.
This was the second big win in the last week for Scarsdale, which upset Mount Vernon, 65-61, on the road last Wednesday. The two huge wins have the Raiders believing they can do something big in the upcoming sectional tournament.
“I think we’re really coming together,” Zucker said. “We’re playing more as a team. The team does not win when one person scores, the team wins when everyone contributes. We’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
Blanco agreed with his star, but said the Raiders must take it one game at a time to reach their potential.
“They are coming together now and are starting to believe in what they’re doing and what they can do,” the coach said. “We respect everyone but fear no one. We’re going to take it one game at a time, one quarter at a time, one substitution at a time, one shot at a time. We don’t really have the expectations. We just play hard all the time.”
Follow Jordan Griffith on Twitter @MSGV_JGriffith