By Mitch Silver
Here’s the kind of game it was: the best ball handler on the floor and the game’s high scorer, Taylor Brenneman, played for the other team, Pawling, last year’s Class C Sectional semifinalists. Her point total for the Tigers was more than double Rye Neck’s top two. And the Panthers, playing on their home court, made exactly one shot in the final eight minutes of play.
So, a humbling loss for Rye Neck? Au contraire.
Monday’s six-point victory at home over Pawling was a relatively easy one. And it was one that catapulted Rye Neck, whose 2017 record was 2-16, into the post-season.
Rye Neck Head Coach Shawn Lincoln knew the visitors would pull their players back to half court on every attempted free throw in hopes of applying pressure on a made shot. He made sure that stratagem didn’t work. He also shuttled his players in and out to keep them fresh. Which is partly why seven Rye Neck players hit the score sheet. Pawling had only three.
Meanwhile, Brenneman played every second at point guard, scoring 16 points —including three treys — and creating nearly every Tiger assist. But she also created more turnovers than all of Rye Neck’s players combined.
On the home team’s side of the ball, sophomore Morgan Parker made clutch shots when her team needed them, junior Olivia Martino nailed a big three in the final quarter as Pawling made a mini-run, and freshman Kyera Hutt used her body effectively under the boards.
Afterwards, Coach Lincoln was smiling. “I thought we played with a lot of energy, which has been a pretty consistent theme for this team. And our ball movement was as good as it’s been this season, especially as we built up the lead.” The teams left the floor at halftime with Rye Neck up 20-10.
“I thought we got a strong defensive performance from Elle Katsaros, and some excellent play coming off the bench, on both ends of the court, from our back-up forward, Maura Gabrielle.”
After facing Keio and Bronxville post-press time, the Panthers host Edgemont tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.
Elle Katsaros hits the floor as Morgan Parker (3) and Alexa Garcia (25) look on.
Jessica Gottlieb looking for an open player
Freshman Kyera Hutt takes it to the rim with a vengeance.