Regardless of the caliber of the opposing team, competing is always instructive. Take Rye Country Day’s home opener against Edgemont on December 10, and their second home game against Millbrook two days later.
By Melanie Cane
Regardless of the caliber of the opposing team, competing is always instructive. Take Rye Country Day’s home opener against Edgemont on December 10, and their second home game against Millbrook two days later. The Wildcats toppled Edgemont by 19 points and bested the Blazers 60-31; in both matchups Rye Country Day’s bench got a lot of court time.
In the Millbrook matchup, the Wildcats made eight baskets before giving up one, and led 35-12 at halftime. Senior captain Melanie Mandell, classmates Emily Moran and CeCe Payne, and junior Taylor Regan combined for 29 points in the first half. Eighth grade starting point guard Alana Jones was instrumental in bringing the ball down court and setting up plays.
Freshman guard Paulina Harasimowicz excelled at screening, passing, and rebounding in an offense that Coach Scotty Nails described as “run to your spots and find the open person.”
Because the Wildcats dominated from the start, Coach Nails rotated in freshmen Annie Cooper, Georgia Mandell, and Jessica Yaffa early in the game, and kept them in for most of the game. The younger players demonstrated poise and skill sharing the ball and running the floor. Coach Nails is impressed with how the younger players “were able to play in our system. It’s not easy preparing to play this style with all the conditioning, but they did it.”
Defensively, the newer players need to work on communication. Coach Nails understands the defensive acumen will take time and experience. He said he loves working with this group of girls,” and says the veterans are showing great leadership.
The Wildcats have a long season ahead of them, including a Rye High School Tournament before winter break and three games a week after the break. They are looking forward to a steep learning curve.