Bittersweet feelings marked the varsity girls’ final basketball game of the season at home last Thursday, February 7.
Bitter: The Indians lost to the Port Jefferson Royals, 63-38, plus the team said their goodbyes to four seniors.
Sweet: The team showed determination and improvement throughout the season, and sent the seniors off with wise words.
Senior Corrine Mahoney opened the first quarter on fire with strong defense and four easy points. The Royals, however, came out in full force showing their speed and shooting skills. The three M’s — Morgan McCarthy, senior, Melissa Ames, senior, and Margaret Michalak, freshman — followed Corrine with three layups. Junior Abbie Ross Gates showed her athleticism blocking shots, but the Royals were a tough match, and ended the quarter up 14-10.
Port Jeff’s skill continued to show into the second quarter. The Indians had difficulty executing their plays and needed to make better decisions while passing and organizing the floor. Margaret’s layup and foul shots, followed by Abbie’s 3-pointer weren’t quite enough to close the gap, and the Royals maintained their lead, 26-17. Coach Peter Miedema said, “Our missed opportunities to score early in the game did not create a lead for us in the first half that could have helped us in the second.”
After the half, Morgan’s aggressive drives to the basket helped the Indians put six more points on the board. Port Jeff continued their solid play, with two “little leaders,” Abbie and Kenna, both no taller than 5’2” dominating the court. Their jump shots gave the Indians a total of 10 more points, but the Royals gained 20, ending the quarter 46-27.
An individual highlight of the game occurred at the start of the fourth quarter, when senior Jill Calabro made her first baskets of the season, a nice jump shot followed by a foul shot. The crowd went wild, and the smile on Jill’s face said it all.
Kenna was rebounding well, and her layup was followed by two more by Abbie. Corrine fouled out of the game halfway through the quarter, though held her head high. Port Jeff’s ability to hit 3-pointers worked in their favor, and they took the game over with their skill at creating turnovers. The game ended 63-38. Coach Miedema concluded, “The overall experience of Port Jeff wore us down.”
Although the Lady Indians didn’t have a winning season, they did have a memorable one. From fun bus rides to hard work on the court, the varsity girls will always treasure their season. Senior co-captain Corrine Mahoney remembers, “My highlight of the season was playing really hard against Southold and only losing by five because the first time we lost by 30. Also, our game against Smithtown Christian had some really good ball movement on offense.”
In addition, senior co-captain Melissa Ames recalls, “I loved seeing improvement in all the younger girls, some with little or no previous experience playing basketball. Everyone has drastically gotten better since the first day to the last practice.”
Coach Miedema shared Melissa’s feelings. “The team overall included many neophytes to the sport, so it took several weeks to expose the girls to the nuances of the game,” he said. “I enjoyed watching the rebuilding of players into a team this year. There were several special quarters in which the team clicked and applied skills that showed development.”
The team finished the season with four wins and eight losses. With the loss of four seniors, the younger team members will need to increase their levels of play in order to become the team they aspire to be — ready for both bitter and sweet.