With games postponed because of bomb scares and snow days, it has been tough for the RHS Girls’ basketball team to gather momentum lately.
By Melanie Cane
With games postponed because of bomb scares and snow days, it has been tough for the RHS Girls’ basketball team to gather momentum lately. Still, they managed to earn a 13-4 record, and they even turned their January 28 make-up game against New Rochelle into a clothes drive for The Sharing Shelf in Port Chester. After spending the morning of February 1 sorting the clothing they collected and donating them, the team resumed practicing for the league championship game against Harrison at home February 3, Senior Night.
The players’ affection for their two senior captains, Holly Hunter and Laura Ann Pacos was in full display, as they pulled together to win a very tough game against their rivals 49-40, along with the league title.
The Garnets beat the Huskies 51-38 in their previous match-up January 14. Harrison came prepared to avenge that loss and jumped out to an early 12-6 lead with 3:36 to go in the first quarter. Rye pulled within two on two foul shots by Pacos and a lay-up by Maddie Eck on a perfect pass from Taylor Maurer. Then the Huskies hit a three-pointer,but Katie Popp scored three points on an inside basket and a foul shot. Another foul shot by Popp and a basket by Maurer gave the Garnets their first lead —16-15 — going into the second quarter.
Rye pulled further ahead early in the second quarter with some frenetic play. Popp scored five and Maurer added three before Harrison stole the ball and scored on a fast break. Eck answered back, Harrison countered, Popp hit a three-pointer, and suddenly it was halftime, and the Garnets had a 31-22 lead.
The Garnets’ second quarter intensity carried over to the start of the third, then their attention seemed to wane. Taking advantage of that lapse, which lasted into the fourth quarter, Harrison regained the lead, 39-37.
With six minutes remaining, Coach Dennis Hurlie called a time out, during which he emphasized their strength, defense.
The Garnets returned to the court with fire in their eyes, and reclaimed the game, outscoring Harrison 12-1. Eck scored eight of those final points by driving to the basket and drawing fouls. She ended the game with 18 points; Popp was right behind her with 17.
“We will always be remembered for the league championship banner on the wall of the gym,” said Rye’s senior captains, Pacos and Hunter. “We gave it our all in this, the biggest game of the season, and are so proud of our team.”
Coach Hurlie was so pleased with his team for stepping up the intensity when they got in trouble. “Harrison is a tough team to guard, and we had some ugly offensive possessions in the third quarter, but we can always rely on our defense.”
As for the two senior captains, Coach Hurlie said, “Holly and Laura Ann are two of the kindest, most compassionate student-athletes it has ever been my pleasure to coach. They love their team and their teammates, and have made coming to practice a joy for us as coaches.”
The Garnets’ first playoff game is February 12 at home.