THE Wildcats had reason to feel good about the trip across town to face Rye High’s girls in a Saturday matinee February 1.
By Mitch Silver
THE Wildcats had reason to feel good about the trip across town to face Rye High’s girls in a Saturday matinee February 1. Coach Margaret Scarcella’s charges had won four of the previous five against FAA opponents and were finally fully healthy when they took the floor.
They must have left their game on the bus.
Behind Alanna Morque’s 12 first-half points, the Garnets came out firing and doubled up their opponents after the first period, 16-8. Tara Berger and her Country Day mates got their share of rebounds (more than their share on the offensive end), but the ball just would not drop. Meanwhile, Morque and Co. set up shop on the wings and rained in threes and long twos over the Wildcats’ zone. The half ended in a lopsided 30-14 score.
Rye’s Maddie Eck drove the lane twice for scores in the opening stanza, and she did it again to start the third, part of her team-high haul of 16. Rachel Egan added to Rye’s “rain of terror” by dropping 10 points out of the sky.
But, at last, there was a little bite to the Wildcats’ play. The backcourt of Taylor Regan and Nereida Mendez, shaking off her recent ankle injury, got their act together. Creating turnovers and keying a resurgent fast break, they pulled Country Day back to 42-26 after three.
Maybe the Garnets missed the injured Katie Popp more than they realized, but they spent the first five minutes of the final stanza watching the Wildcats whittle the margin down to 10. Then RHS Coach Dennis Hurlie put his starters back in, and senior tri-Captain Hannah Billingsley immediately made her presence felt down low, denying the rebounds and tap-ins that had brought their foes back into the game.
Afterwards, Coach Scarcella was determinedly upbeat. “We knew it would be tough, coming here to face to the bigger school when they’ve been playing so well. But we outscored them in the second half (25-21) and I told the girls to feel good that they didn’t quit.”
Meanwhile, on the boys’ side, Rye Country Day prevailed over Hackley 65- 47 in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Fieldston. In another Coaches vs. Cancer event in Mount Vernon, Eastchester easily handled Rye, 77-38.