Maybe the Rye High girls took Pelham too lightly. After all, the 11-8 Pelicans were only ranked 14th in the Section 1 Class A Girls Basketball Tournament going into the game Sunday at Draddy Gymnasium.
By Mitch Silver
Maybe the Rye High girls took Pelham too lightly. After all, the 11-8 Pelicans were only ranked 14th in the Section 1 Class A Girls Basketball Tournament going into the game Sunday at Draddy Gymnasium. Did the well-rested, third-seeded Garnets overlook them? After the game, Rye Coach Dennis Hurlie disagreed. “We were seeded 14th last year, and we won our opening game. We know 14s can be tough.”
Whatever it was, the Lady Garnets came out flat. When they shot, they missed, and the smaller Pelicans would invariably grab the rebound. Rye canned but six baskets in the first quarter, with only Rachel Egan, Maddie Eck, and Laura Ann Pacos making the scoresheet.
Still, the Garnets never stopped hustling on defense. When The Pacos Kid drilled her 3-pointer to open the Garnets’ account, her teammates set up their vaunted full-court press, forcing Pelham into a faster tempo than they were comfortable with.
But if the best defense is a good offense, Rye didn’t have much of one for most of the half. Alarm bells rang early in the second quarter when the visitors canned their second shot from beyond the arc to pull even at 16-16. With a large contingent of visiting supporters in the stands, they then charged ahead 19-16, forcing Coach Hurlie to call a timeout and shuffle his lineup. The move stemmed the tide, and an Eck three had the Garnets just barely in front at the half, 24-21.
The third quarter proved to be the turning point. Rye’s offense started to flow from its defense, with improved rebounding and ball-hawking creating easier baskets. “That’s what we do,” said Coach Hurlie. “We play suffocating D.”
Holding the Pelicans to two measly buckets, the Garnets started to look like the team that upset last year’s State Champs, Irvington, earlier this season on the road. Also, Alanna Morque, who hadn’t even looked at the basket in the first half, finally noticed it. She nailed a couple of three-pointers in the third period, and a couple more in the fourth, scoring 14 second-half points. When the third-quarter buzzer sounded, Rye was ahead 37-25.
The Garnets pulled away in the end, running the score to 48-28 with 3:15 left. Despite unsportsmanlike catcalling and screeching from the Pelham stands while she was at the line, Egan dropped in five foul shots to ice the game and give her 14 overall behind Eck’s team-high 17.