Long Branch High School point guard Kimi Sayson (3) was high scorer for the Green Wave with 12 points in the win over Manalapan.
By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
On Thursday night the Lady Green Wave of Long Branch High School hosted and beat Manalapan 39-33 in a nondivisional Shore Conference meeting. With the win, Long Branch improved to 5-2, and are currently in third position in the A Central division.
The first quarter was exciting hoops as both teams were fast and pushing the ball up court. Mya Hepburn, senior captain of the Green Wave, had six of her game-high 10 points in those opening minutes. Her teammate, Kimi Sayson who is the teams point guard, had seven of her game-high 12 points in the first quarter. However, Manalapan took an 11-9 lead into the second quarter.
From the second quarter on the Green Wave outscored the Braves. To close out the first half, they went into the halftime break down 23-22 to Manalapan. The third quarter was just as tight with Long Branch holding off the Brave 10-8.
Fourth quarter was the best defense that Long Branch played the entire game. They bested Manalapan 7-2 and won the game 39-33. Sayson was top scorer with 12 points, three rebounds, one assist and three steals.
Hepburn, who is the Sterns Trailer Athlete of the Week for The Link News, had a double-double in the win. She scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds. She also had one assist, block and steal. “May has emerged as a key team leader as she has led by example both on and off the court,” said Shannon Coyle, head coach.
Under the boards for Long Branch was Alayah Vincent, who pulled down 11 rebounds. She scored five points, had two blocks and one steal. Leomary Diaz-Merino finished with seven points, four rebounds, two assists and one block.
“This past week, Mya has led us to three consecutive wins,” Coyle said. The coach added that she is thrilled with the way the team has been playing and she enjoys watching everyone contribute. “I’m very optimistic about how we can finish the season.”
When Hepburn was asked about her personal accolades, she didn’t speak about herself. She praised the team. “The best teams have chemistry, they sacrifice personal glory for a common goal,” she said.
January 7, Long Branch beat Southern Regional 49-31 and are now 6-2 on the season. In this win, Sayson had 15 points, Vincent finished with 14 and 14 rebounds, and Diaz-Merino scored 12 and had seven rebounds.
Following is the remaining schedule for the Green Wave