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Shorthanded, girls varsity basketball team fights on

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Margaret Michalak of the Shelter Island varsity girls basketball team scoring in game earlier this season.
BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Margaret Michalak of the Shelter Island varsity girls basketball team scoring in a game earlier this season.

With the Shelter Island School girls’ basketball season drawing to a close, the varsity squad faced Bishop McGann-Mercy on January 29.

When these teams met back at the beginning of January, Mercy beat the Blue and Gray by over 30 points. The rematch was less one sided, with Shelter Island scoring more and holding the Monarchs to less.

Mercy has a relentless defense that forced a lot of turnovers in the first half and got Margaret Michalak and Amira Lawrence in foul trouble early. With those top rebounders forced to take some time on the bench during the second quarter, Seri Kaasik rose to the challenge and filled in, hauling in nine rebounds. Colibri Lopez and Melissa Frasco added quickness on defense, with Frasco grabbing a steal.

In the second half, Michalak helped crank up the offense and was the high scorer with 10 points, while Kenna McCarthy chipped in with 8 points. Nicolette Frasco added a bucket as well. Lawrence finished with seven rebounds. The final score was 44-27 for the Monarchs.

On January 30 the squad, weakened by sickness and weekend conflicts, could only field six players for their trip to Pierson. Maddie Hallman, the charismatic JV point guard, joined the older girls. Her energetic play was appreciated, but Coach Peter Miedema noted that “our lack of depth hurt us defensively because we don’t generate enough turnovers.” The final score was 39-19 in favor of the Whalers.

As the team heads into its last week of competition, they will focus on consistency in execution of their offense. While the team scores well in transition, the lack of point production in the half court has been a sticking point. The varsity’s final game will be February 4 at Rocky Point.

The JV squad traveled to the Knox school on January 29. The long bus ride caused the girls to start slowly. With only six athletes available, including Phoebe Starzee who is battling a knee injury, it was a tough game.

Lindsay Gallagher’s quickness and ability to go to the basket kept the game close in the first half, but Knox was able to capitalize on the Indians fatigue and pull away in the second half to win 51-22. On a bright note, Coach Danielle Gil noted the Blue and Gray faced a new defense and were able to adjust and beat it on several occasions.

Knox only has a JV program, meaning that juniors or seniors may be on the court, causing a mismatch with our younger squad. Only two Knox girls scored 47 of their 51 points. When Shelter Island faces Knox again on February 5, they will focus their defense on the two major scoring threats.

The JV squad will finish the season with a marathon run facing Smithtown Christian on February 3, Rocky Point on February 4, and Knox the following day, with the season-ending game to be played at Pierson on February 6.