A new era of Shoreham-Wading River basketball begins this summer, although it won’t be all that different from the past decade.
Ten years ago Dennis Haughney and Adam Lievre became coaches at Shoreham — Haughney with the varsity and Lievre the junior varsity. During that time the Wildcats have been a perennial playoff team, a group that relies on its athleticism to play a fast-paced, up-tempo game.
After Haughney opted to step down after last season to spend more time with his four children, Lievre was the obvious choice to slide in and take over the varsity program.
“I’m familiar with everybody,” Lievre said after Shoreham’s Town of Brookhaven Summer League win over Westhampton Monday night. “It’s definitely nice having a good background on everyone.”
A 1997 Shoreham graduate, Lievre said he knew if Haughney ever decided to step down, it would be an easy choice to take the job. Lievre officially became the varsity head coach last Tuesday, he said.
“I pretty much ran my JV team as a varsity,” Lievre said. “I liked to put the time in. I would scout JV games. [Dennis and I] worked well together. We didn’t step on each other’s toes. So it was a good relationship.”
Lievre will get a chance to coach many of the players he’s already had on his team from the JV.
“I know their strengths, I know their weaknesses,” he said. ”I know where they can play and can’t play. Most of them I’ve had now for two years. Some of them I even coached when they were younger.”
The summer league gives the younger girls a chance to play with some of the returnees before the varsity season begins in November. The Wildcats had two of their main players from last year available Monday in Shannon Rosati and Taylor Whiffen.
Having some of the veteran players put in the time during summer league is an added bonus for Lievre.
“It’s definitely nice to have some of the older kids here who know what it’s like to play varsity and not have to have 10th graders come out who never played varsity and be asked to do all the point guard responsibilities,” he said.
Rosati led the Wildcats with 11 points in their 20-17 win over the Hurricanes in an abbreviated game at Shoreham-Wading River High School on a hot, muggy night. The game was trimmed from 22-minute halves to 18.
Rosati, a key contributor on varsity the past few years, showed why she’ll be one of the leaders on the team come the winter season as she begins her senior year. A versatile player who always goes all-out, Rosati embodies the style of play the Wildcats aim for: aggressive, tenacious and fast-paced.
“We usually do most of our scoring off transition and fast-breaks,” Lievre said. “I don’t want to play half-court offense. It’s not a strongpoint, it’s never been a strongpoint of ours. I would like it to be, we’ll work on it. But with the athletes I have I would expect and hope we’re going to get some turnovers.”
The Wildcats showed that against the Hurricanes with a full-court press that made it a challenge for the Hurricanes to get the ball across midcourt.
Rosati was a big part of that with her aggressive defense.
“You know she’s always on the court because she’s always doing something,” Lievre said. “She goes 100 miles per hour the entire game from start to finish.”
Along with Rosati and Whiffen, the Wildcats will return Courtney Clasen and Kerri Clark as some of their top returners.
Even without all their top players Monday, the Wildcats still improved to 6-0 in the summer league. They currently sit atop the standings in the 12-team small school division.
Shoreham will play Rocky Point Wednesday at Shoreham.