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Mei-Lynn Bautista knew starting over again wouldn’t be easy for her and close friends Jordan Agustus and McKayla Hernandez after choosing to transfer from Mary Louis to St. Mary’s (L.I.) in September.
The three sophomore girls’ basketball players each had different reasons for their departure, from travel issues to needing a change to academics. Still, they knew attending a second school in two years would have its hurdles.
“At first, it’s always hard because it’s a new school, new people, new team,” Bautista said. “I have to get the team to like me.”
So far it’s gone quite well.
There has been a lot to like about the talent and new energy the trio has brought to the program. Bautista, a dynamic pass-first point guard, said the school and her new teammates welcomed them with open arms and made them feel at home. That bond is one of the reasons St. Mary’s, usually not known for being a power program, has a chance to win the CHSAA Nassau/Suffolk title and earn a spot in the CHSAA Class AA tournament for the first time.
“I like the excitement that we are the big team in Long Island now,” said Agustus, a blossoming, athletic wing. “I’d like to keep it now.”
She isn’t surprised by the success they’re having after St. Mary’s went 12-13 overall last year.
“I came when I thought it would come,” Agustus said. “I thought it would come pretty fast.”
All three start and contribute and are joined by athletic senior forward Alyssa James. St. Mary’s, which is perfect in league play and 17-3 overall, has already beaten defending diocesan champion St. Anthony’s twice, including a 57-52 win Feb. 13.
Bautista, Agustus and Hernandez, a hard-working, sweet-shooting guard, combined for 37 points in that game.
Agustus, who has interest from schools like Memphis, Princeton, St. John’s and Virginia Tech, added 15 rebounds and Bautista had 15 assists. They also own quality wins over strong city teams like South Shore and Moore Catholic.
“We’ve beaten a lot of good teams and not many people knew us,” said Bautista, who has interest from St. John’s, North Carolina, Louisville and Boston College. “It’s definitely an accomplishment.”
Coming as a group eased the process. They have only had to learn to play with two other girls in the starting lineup and could support each other in school.
“Going together and getting the kind of playing time we get, to play how we have been playing for a while, it’s definitely easier,” Bautista said. “The team didn’t deny us, they welcomed us like we welcomed them.”
Plenty of winning has followed.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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