What a day of basketball on Monday! I got to see two full games, and part of one other. I’ll quickly take you through my day, and then get to Thursday’s games.
My day started with a noon game at Sachem East between the Comsewogue Warriors and the Flaming Arrows. East is the number 3, Comsewogue is the 14th seed, and had to win a play-in game on Saturday JUST to make it to the First Round. East is 47-2 at home since 2006. I arrived at East at around 10:30 AM to set up. Everyone was worried about Comsewogue, everyone was giving them credit. They have athletes, led by Michelle Rubino (Sr. G) and Samantha Kane (Sr. G/F). And they went out and outhustled, outshot, and outsmarted Sachem East throughout the first quarter. East trailed 15-7 at the end of one. Comsewogue fans were pumped! I had never seen such an enthusiastic away crowd for an playoff game at East! Usually the games are over by six minutes in, even in the playoffs! But East played great in the 2nd quarter. Only allowed 2 points (a school playoff record for least pts allowed in a quarter). But they only put up seven points, setting a school record for LEAST points scored in a half.
In the second half, I have no idea what happened. But East stopped missing layups, and Emily Carmel (who I’ve nicknamed Crunch Time Carmel because she only hits shots in the second half), woke up BIG TIME! Hit two threes in the quarter, and although Comsewogue would keep it close, once East took the lead early on, you knew they weren’t looking back. Carmel had the dagger, a three pointer with about a minute left to extend the lead to 11. East won, but it was much more exciting (and nerve-wracking) than I thought it would be!
I then went out to Riverhead where the winner of the Riverhead-Floyd game would play East. Riverhead is a young team, likes to run up and down and use a full-court offense and defense. Floyd, led by senior Monique Walker, is a one man show, halfcourt style of offense. But they made RH look bad in the first half! They easily beat the press, and using a halfcourt trap on defense, forced turnovers and were able to score in transition. Monique finished with 17 points (if I remember off the top of my head). But Riverhead started to adjust late in the first half and was able to cut a double-digit deficit to six by the time the first half ended. In the second half, more adjustments by Riverhead, and they took a lead into the 4th quarter, but Mo Walker battled back. She did NOT want her varsity career to end! Again, the trapping at halfcourt worked, and Floyd took a six point lead with under 2 minutes left. But then Riverhead started to will their way in. They drove into the paint and drew fouls, and THAT’S what won the game for them. Floyd could not hit any foul shots in the second half. When Floyd turned the ball over on a stolen pass intended for Walker, you could see the disappointment in her eyes. Heartbreaking to watch.
I then took a LONG ride out to North Babylon. In what could have been the most pointless trip since May 2009 (inside joke), I arrived to see North Bab up by FIFTY on Sachem North. Oooof!!!
Now here’s what I think will happen tomorrow.
Northport(1) vs. Copaigue(8): I think Copaigue makes it a lot closer game than most people are expecting. Northport grows smart guards like people grow flowers. But they have yet to be tested against a guard as good as Chelsea Williams (Sr. G) on Copaigue. Still, with Stephanie Leon (Sr. F, will play at Delaware) and Kelly Cortina at point guard, I do not see Northport letting this get away from them. Northport by 12, but it’s a close 12 points.
Deer Park(4) vs. Walt Whitman(5): I like Whitman to pull off the upset in another close game. I have not seen either team play this year, but Whitman has the tremendous Alexandra Leftridge, a tall forward who plays well on both offense and defense. I’ve been watching her since she was a 10th grader, she is a talent. I think she gets it done on Thursday.
North Babylon(2) vs. Happague(10): Hauppague had the upset of the day on Monday when they came back from a very late 13 point deficit to beat #7 Lindenhurst. I think they give North Bab a good quarter or even a good half. Maybe like what Comsewogue did to East the other day. North Bab is young, no Bria Hartley to save them anymore. But they’re still fast, and they play hard for first year coach Debbie Brejavich. I think ultimately, North Bab wins by 15-20.
And my game. I will have the call for the Sachem East(3) vs. Riverhead(6) game on 91.9 WSHR. This might be the best match-up. East doesn’t run, Riverhead does. Both teams are young, but east has a little bit more experience with Meagan Doherty. Plus, many of the girls were on the team last year when they went up to the State championship, even if a lot of them didn’t get to play. So you’d think their nerves are a little better. I think if East doesn’t miss as many lay-ups as they did on Monday. Riverhead missed many too, and did not respond well to pressure defense. Key will be Kathleen Everson inside the paint grabbing rebounds. And it would be nice if Carmel hit a shot within the first sixteen minutes for once. I think it’s a game Riverhead CAN win. But I don’t think they’re that ready yet to win a road playoff game, and against Sachem East. If Meagan Doherty can get going early on, it’s may be a long game for Riverhead. I will pick East, in a close game, but pulling away late to win by about 10-15.
I’m more than ready to find out what will happen!!! CAN’T WAIT!!!