By Melanie Cane
On February 10, Garnets’ senior captain Katie Popp passed the 1,500-point milestone. She scored 29 points, leading the Garnets to a 55-36 victory over East Ramapo. Less than 24 hours later, Popp broke the all-time Rye High Girls’ Basketball scoring record, in a nail-biting 49-45 win over Red Hook at home.
Popp’s 1,539-point total pushes her past Kate Beswick, who ended her Rye High career with 1,537 points in 2001.
In the first quarter of the Red Hook game, Rye dominated possession, rebounds, and shooting opportunities. But they had a little trouble converting their shots and ended the quarter with an 11-8 lead.
Teaghan Flaherty stole the ball from the Raiders in the opening play of the second quarter, but missed the lay-up. The Garnets pulled down her rebound, but missed the next three shots. The Raiders scored on their next three possessions, taking a 17-11 lead. Popp missed four consecutive shots until she drew a foul on a drive inside and made both foul shots.
On their next possession, the Garnets made some beautiful passes around the key before Red Hook stole the ball and scored on a fast break. Popp answered with a drive down the middle and a left-handed hook. On the next play, Ellie Dailey stole the ball and drew a foul on the fast break. Rye had another turnover before the end of the half, and the Raiders jumped out to a 24-18 lead.
Rye had a couple of turnovers at the beginning of the second half before Hannah Mullaly scored twice from inside and Popp hit a jump shot to come within two of the Raiders. Kate Robbins hit a three-pointer on the inbound, and Red Hook responded with another. Popp tied the game on a beautiful hand off from Dailey under the basket and Robbins followed up with another three-pointer to regain the lead. A few seconds later, the Raiders hit a three-pointer to tie. With two minutes to go in the quarter, Popp drove down the center and hit a twisting shot from directly under the basket. She repeated that play a minute later. Rye had a 38-33 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Red Hook regained the lead 43-41 halfway through. With less than three minutes to go, Popp tied it at 45.
Both teams missed several shots until Popp grabbed a defensive rebound, beat three defenders to the basket on a fast break, and hit a layup. She repeated this superhuman maneuver one more time before Rye ran down the clock for the win. Popp’s last four points tied and then bested the all-time scoring record. Unaware of her accomplishment at the time, to those watching it appeared as though some magical force propelled her to achieve the feat.
While admitting she was thrilled with the accomplishment, Popp said she was even happier that she contributed to the team’s victory. “Breaking the record was not on my mind at all. I was pretty tired, but I wanted us to win. Something kicked in at the end of the game and gave me a boost of energy. The whole team picked it up in the second half, becoming more aggressive and focused.”
Fellow senior co-captain Kate Robbins said the team was a little sluggish against Red Hook because they had played the night before. “We played back-to-back Friday and Saturday games three weeks in a row, and the Saturday games were all a bit tough. We knew early in the game we needed to step it up defensively because we were struggling offensively. We focused on boxing out to get the rebounds and marking players closely.” She thinks the team gained more confidence as the season progressed and started winning more consistently. “We came a long way after losing our first four games!” said Robbins
The Garnets’ 11-9 record earned them home court advantage in the first playoff game, February 18.
Teaghan Flaherty, at right, with the shot
The Garnets after the victory over Red Hook