Girls basketball begins season undefeated

Daniel Dash, Staff Writer

The girls varsity basketball team is off to a promising start this winter. They have already started their season on the right foot, and they currently sit in the standings without a loss.

On Nov. 29, the girls’ two and a half weeks of intense practice paid off when they defeated Roslyn with a score of 51-32. Balanced scoring, lock-down defense, and strong rebounding were focal points in the second half when the Lady Vikings outscored the Bulldogs 29-15.

Juniors Emma Waxman and Rebecca Rosen paved the way for Port’s offense by scoring 11 points each. After allowing 13 points in the third quarter, the Lady Vikings’ defense buckled down and held Roslyn’s offense to just two points in the final quarter of play.

“We pride ourselves on working hard on the defensive end,” said senior Rachel Rosen. “In practice, we push ourselves so that we’re ready to battle other opponents in our conference.”

Rosen scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds in the win over Roslyn. She and senior Emma Furst are the only two seniors on a team comprised mostly of underclassmen. Although Furst and Rosen are the only two seniors, the team boasts five other returning players who have stepped up and taken valuable leadership roles.

“Having so many returning players is great because it provides experience,” said junior Rebecca Rosen. “Experience is one of the best things that a high school basketball team can have because it leads to persistence, hard work, and diligence.

In Port’s second game of the season, the girls defeated Wheatley in a non-league matchup by a score of 56-44 in front of a supportive home crowd.  Waxman and her junior teammate Tyler Owens each scored a team-high 15 points in the win. Sophomore Ava Sann also contributed 8 points to the second consecutive game. Once again, Rachel Rosen proved herself to be one of Port’s most well-rounded players by scoring six, pulling down thirteen boards, and dishing out seven assists.

After only scoring 50 points or more in a single game three times last year, the Lady Vikings have surpassed the 50-point mark in both of their games thus far. Clearly, coaches Dennis Trottier and Eric Sutz have developed a highly effective game plan on offense this season.

“This year our offense has revolved around getting points in transition and running down the court for fast break layups,” said Waxman. “We’re one of the most athletic teams in our conference and we plan to use that to our advantage.”

So far, many of Port’s points have come from the girls’ ability to control the tempo of each game. As Waxman explained, the Lady Vikings have made a conscious effort to beat other teams down the floor in transition to get easy baskets.

“We’re looking to play with speed and use our good shooters, like Tyler, in set plays,” Rebecca Rosen added. “Because we have seven returning players, we already know each other’s strengths and this will help us maximize our offensive potential throughout the season.”

Clearly, the Lady Vikings have a successful offensive game plan and a bold defense that puts them on the path to success. Last season, the strong Farmingdale team beat the Lady Vikings in the first round of the playoffs. This year’s team is a combination of fresh talent and seasoned player, and the 2016-17 team looks ready to make a solid playoff run this February.

“It’s a long way away, but we definitely want to make it out of the first round of the playoffs,” Rachel Rosen said. “Losing in the first round at Farmingdale last season was pretty bitter, so we want to come back even stronger this season and show the rest of the county that this team is built for a deep playoff run.”

The girls’ undefeated start has drawn the attention of many other coaches and players from other teams. In the coming months, the team hopes to continue their winning streak this season while working towards the county playoffs. If the team keeps performing the way they have been, they will be tough to beat.