With 10 players contributing to the score and more than half the points coming from three-pointers alone, the Ward Melville girls’ basketball team had no problem cruising to a 56-18 win over William Floyd Tuesday.
“We worked well together,” junior guard Hannah Lorenzen said. “We really stepped up our defense, and we have a lot of shooting guards that can make threes; we did that pretty well today.”
The Patriots started the game off by scoring eight straight points, with senior forward Heidi Scarth scoring half of them. The team was stealing passes and forcing William Floyd turnovers, but the Colonials bounced back to score five straight points.
Ward Melville re-extended its lead by the end of the first quarter, with senior guard Kira Sells and junior guard and forward Taylor Tripptree knocking down a three-pointer apiece to give their team a commanding 14-5 lead.
“It’s definitely one of our strongest points to our game,” Sells said of scoring three-pointers. “I know I could do better. So I’m just working on getting better every game.”
Sells did do one better, though.
After Shannon Berry banked three field goals to swing the tempo of the game, Sells swished two more treys to help her team further its lead to 30-10 by halftime.
Lorenzen said her teammates did a good job of passing outside if they couldn’t enter the paint.
“It does help a lot, because if we can’t penetrate through the paint, we can kick it and depend on our shooting guards to make the threes, which helps us get ahead,” she said.
But Ward Melville head coach Bruce Haller said a team that wants to go up against the best-of-the-best in Suffolk County, like Brentwood, Longwood, Sachem East and the county-best Commack, would need to play with a more balanced attack.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” he said. “The three is a great weapon, but if you fall too much in love with it and your three isn’t going in that particular game, now what? It’s all or nothing. That’s why we’re focusing on getting the ball inside a little more and getting some second shots. When those threes get missed, someone needs to be hitting the board from the weak side to get some putbacks.”
What did work for the team, though, was getting enough ahead that more bench players were able to see minutes.
“The kids work really hard in practice all the time and it’s nice to get them out on the court, get them some playing time and have them make some shots,” he said. “We have a very talented, deep group.”
Six of the 10 players that scored on that deep roster banked trifectas, and 31 of the team’s total points came from the five bench players that scored.
Bre Cohn and Maggie Zanone came off the bench in the fourth to score six points and three points, respectively, while stealing passes and dishing assists to close out the scoring for the game.
“We’re all close on and off the court,” Lorenzen said. “We have classes together, eat lunch together — so we’re all friends.”
Haller said his team has come a long way, making the decision to come together and step up to replace the injured freshman leading scorer from last year’s team: Lauren Hansen.
“They could have felt sorry for themselves,” he said. “Instead, a number of players are stepping up and taking over responsibilities or a bit of a different role that we didn’t anticipate them having in the preseason, and they’ve done a good job of it. Instead, they decided that they’re going to make a run for this thing.”