Facing a hostile Senior Night crowd at Harrison High January 17, the Rye Garnet girls had trouble getting started in this classic basketball rivalry.
By Mitch Silver
Facing a hostile Senior Night crowd at Harrison High January 17, the Rye Garnet girls had trouble getting started in this classic basketball rivalry. Maybe it was because Harrison was playing in front of a lusty home crowd; maybe it was the fact that Rye had easily handled the Huskies at home a few days earlier. Whatever it was, the Garnets were outrebounded and outworked for much of the first half and trailed 21-15 at the break.
During the break, Coach Dennis Hurlie told his players: “Look, we expected Harrison to come out strong on their special night. It’s nothing we can’t handle. We’ll mix our usual man-to-man with our zone press and we’ll do fine.”
And that’s exactly what happened. With senior tri-Captains Hannah Billingsley, Rachel Egan, and Alanna Morque stiffening the squad’s D and getting better ball movement and penetration on offense, Rye held the Huskies to just five points in the third quarter and took the lead, 27-26. Billingsley especially asserted herself down low, and Egan began to get open around the top of the key.
The fourth quarter was the key to the game and freshman Katie Popp made the most of it, hitting threes and leading all scorers with 15. So what had been a seesaw struggle all night became a 14-point romp by the final whistle.
Less than 48 hours later, the Garnets traveled to Irvington to play their undefeated hosts in the windup game of the fifth annual Autism Classic. In an overtime thriller, Egan hit a stunning 3-pointer off the backboard to put Rye ahead for keeps before Eck and Popp sealed the deal at the charity stripe to end the Bulldogs’ unbeaten skein.
Eck finished with 19 points, while Morque had 17, Popp 16, and Egan eight. The Four Horsewomen scored all of the Garnets’ points in the win. And they needed every one.