Close, but no cigar

By TED WADDELL
Posted 12/11/19

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Don’t judge a book by its cover—or, in this case, never evaluate a team by its first game of the season.

On Tuesday, December 3, the home-team Lady Bulldogs …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Close, but no cigar

Posted

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Don’t judge a book by its cover—or, in this case, never evaluate a team by its first game of the season.

On Tuesday, December 3, the home-team Lady Bulldogs of Sullivan West took on the James I. O’Neill Lady Raiders in a girls’ varsity game of hoops. It was a contest that marked the first game of the year for both squads.

The game brought to life Raggedy Ann, a character created by children’s author and illustrator Johnny Gruelle, as both teams struggled to get their feet under them and work as a single force driving to the paint. They played with heart as they polished the court in numerous tightly packed battles for possession, a series of crashes and burns that set the home team Dawg Pound a-howlin’ in full cry, and a demonstration of the resilient toughness of youth. 

Even after shaving the visitors’ lead to just four points (24-20) early in the third frame, at the final buzzer, O’Neill won the non-league game 34-25.

In the opening period, O’Neill outscored Sullivan West 9-4, outposted them 8-5 in the next frame before taking an 8-point halftime lead (17-9) into the locker room.

In the third period, a fired-up home team rebounded to outgun the Lady Raiders 11-7, while in the final frame, O’Neill out scored Sullivan West 10-5 for the victory.

Sullivan West’s top point getters: Chloe Barber (7 points), Keri Burr (4) and Taylor Hall (4). At the free-throw line, a couple of bucketeers were 50 percent at 1-for-2 (Riley Ernst and Barber).

On the other side of the scorebook, O’Neill’s leading scorers: Anaya Lewis (9), Josey Arbogast (6) and Morgan Gokey (6). Lewis and Amber Burgos each posted a 3-pointer, and Lewis was 4-for-8 at the free- throw line.

Adam DiBenedetto made his initial appearance as coach of the Lady Raiders varsity girls hoopsters. His take on the win? “It’s hard to describe, it was a very good feeling,” he said. And as for the team’s goals for the season, “To continue to build on what we did here… Get better with each game, improve each week and play good defense.”

The Lady Raiders (1-0) are captained by three players (Morgan Gokey, Ella Collins and Jada Cochran), and field a trio of seniors (Carmen Lopez, Gokey and Cochran).

The Lady Bulldogs (0-1) feature Pat Donovan back at the helm. His take on the game? “We looked good at times, and at times we looked like we’re young,” he replied, noting that while his youthful squad hasn’t as yet played a lot together as a team, “We’re little and fast… It’s a process.”

Goals for 2019-2020? “Be competitive and get better every day—that’s our goal every season… Grow from today to tomorrow,” said Donovan.

At this early stage in the season, captains have yet to be selected, but the Lady Bulldogs field a trio of returning upperclassmen: Keri Burr, Brooke Kloss and Maggie Russell.

“I think we need a lot of improvement, [to] settle down and take our time,” said Burr, adding, “It’s a very, very young team.” Goals? “Work better as a team, act like a family and hopefully push forward this year and make it to sectionals,” she said.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment