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Pride of the Pack: Loughlin senior lifts Lions to final-second victory

One on one: Loughlin guard Laysha de los Santos takes on an Archbishop Molloy defender as the Lions held on for a 68-66 victory, the team’s first win of the season, on Dec. 15.
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She was, simply, doing her job.

Bishop Loughlin senior guard Lynette Taitt knew she had to make the shot and when, at first, it didn’t work, she grabbed the ball and tried again. Taitt scored the game-winning basket — just moments after her first attempt was blocked — with 5.6 seconds on the clock to lift the Lady Lions to a 68–66 victory over Archbishop Molloy on Dec. 15.

It was Loughlin’s first win of the season.

“I just heard my coach yell ‘Let’s go’ and I knew I had to put it on my shoulders,” Taitt said. “So I went to the basket, faked and I just rolled it and prayed for it to go in the basket.”

Taitt scored 10 of her 28 points in the final six minutes of play, sparking the young Lions roster after Loughlin (1–4) had squandered a double-digit lead. She also netted 11 of the team’s final 14 points of the game.

“I’ve got a young team and she’s a senior and she played like a leader. I’m happy for her and happy for my girls,” said Loughlin coach Chez Williams. “It was a rough start for us this season. We came together as a team and we won the game.”

Molloy took its first lead since the early-minutes of the game with 1:30 left in the third quarter — jump-started by a five-point Jenna Mastellone run. Loughlin would not go down easily, however, and Laysha De La Santos put the Lions up one heading into the point with a deep three-pointer.

“I knew it was a few seconds off and I had to get the ball out of my hands,” she said. “I just had to let the ball go and I’m confident in my shot. I didn’t think I was going to miss.”

The squads exchanged baskets in the early goings of the fourth quarter and Molloy jumped out to a 54–49 lead with just over two minutes left.

That’s when Taitt went to work. She gave Loughlin a two-point cushion with 34.4 seconds on the clock, connecting on a pair of free throws. Molloy answered with its own trip to the line, but Margarita Kilpatrick went 2-for-3 from the stripe, leaving the game open for Taitt’s heroics.

“It’s so important for me to do that because the energy and the vibe starts with me,” she said. “If I play hard and finish my free throws and go to the basket, then I know everyone else is going to follow me and do the same.”

It’s a much-needed victory for a Loughlin squad that has struggled to hit its stride this season. It wasn’t a perfect game, much closer than any of the Lions would have liked, but a notch in the win column is a big-time confidence boost.

“Their heart and their desire tonight stood above everything,” Williams said. “They wanted it and that’s how you have to come out every game, no matter who we play.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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