Oh so close: Varsity girls lose to Southold, but finish strong

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Shelter Island’s Morgan McCarthy powers past a Stony Brook defender in the Indian’s home loss Friday.

Shelter Island girls’ varsity basketball team welcomed the Southold Settlers on Friday, January 18th to the Island, losing a tight game 41-35. The hard fought match marked the half way point of the girls’ season.

In the first quarter, Shelter Island seemed to be moving the ball around well, but Southold’s overall energy on offense dominated, with the first quarter ending with the Settlers on top 11-1. The Indians strategy came down to playing tougher defense by boxing out for rebounds and being more aggressive.

The second quarter brought some baskets for the Island girls thanks to layups and foul shots by junior Abbie Ross-Gates and freshman Kenna McCarthy. Despite these points, Shelter Island needed to hustle more to keep up with the Settlers’ fast-paced offense. At the half, Abbie had racked up nine points and Kenna five. At the end of the second quarter, the Settlers led 21-14.
Coach Peter Miedema’s talk at half-time must have been an encouraging one, as the Shelter Island team returned with renewed stamina, and better know-how on the court.

The quarter started with marked improvement by individual players, with senior Corrine Mahoney showing lots of endurance, especially when blocking. Senior Morgan McCarthy continued her aggressive defensive, while her sister Kenna charged to the basket and had multiple steals. Senior Melissa Ames and Abbie Ross-Gates were connecting better on the court, and the flow of the game was improving for the Indians. The fans had livened up by this time, and the game seemed to be taking a turn.

Coach Miedema commented, “The third quarter was the best quarter all season because everyone played individually as opposed to having to be reminded.” Points by Melissa and Abbie ended the third quarter with the Indians still down 31-19.

Effort from the third quarter carried into the fourth. Shelter Island was rebounding better and began to execute their plays with more skill. This resulted in layups by Abbie and Melissa and a shot off the backboard by freshman Margaret Michalak. The final quarter was Shelter Island’s best scoring quarter, and the point gap narrowed to 35-31. Abbie led the team in with 15 points, followed by Melissa with eight.

Shelter Island’s inability to follow their shots to the basket and be confident in their offense, however, continued. Both teams were looking more evenly matched on the court towards the end of the fourth quarter. Shelter Island stepped up their defense, but couldn’t overcome Southold’s consistent shooting. The game ended with a score of 41-35.

Coach Miedema reflected on the game in a positive way. “The last time we played Southold, we lost by 25. We constantly stress improvement.” He went on to say, “Our efforts and improvement stood out today.”

Shelter Island girls will face Smithtown Christian at home on Friday, January 25th at 4:30.