08/06/14 10:24pm
08/06/2014 10:24 PM
Shoreham-Wading River's Maria Smith moves toward the basket during the small schools final against Hampton Bays. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Shoreham-Wading River’s Maria Smith moves toward the basket during the small schools final against Hampton Bays. (Credit: Garret Meade)

The matchup was an intriguing one: Hampton Bays’ Alexis Fotopoulos and Shoreham-Wading River’s Courtney Clasen.

The two central figures in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League girls basketball small schools final had never played against each other before. They both came up big at different times, and in their own ways, in Wednesday evening’s showdown at Eastport/South Manor High School.

In the end, it was Clasen, the senior, and her teammates who ended up with the prize, though not before blowing a 16-point lead and enduring a scare from Fotopoulos and her friends in purple.

(more…)

08/06/14 12:00pm
Shoreham-Wading River senior Courtney Clasen scored the game-winning goal Tuesday night against Miller Place. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham-Wading River senior Courtney Clasen scored the game-winning goal Tuesday night against Miller Place. (Credit: Bill Landon)

With a shortened roster of just 14 players Tuesday night, the Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer team persevered long enough against a deeper Miller Place team to emerge 1-0 winners in the Town of Brookhaven small school championship. (more…)

08/01/14 8:14pm
08/01/2014 8:14 PM
Shoreham-Wading River's Alex Kuhnle, left, and Port Jefferson's Jillian Colucci competing for possession of the ball. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Shoreham-Wading River’s Alex Kuhnle, left, and Port Jefferson’s Jillian Colucci competing for possession of the ball. (Credit: Garret Meade)

The Port Jefferson girls soccer team wasn’t beaten by Miley Cyrus, but the actress/singer sure didn’t help.

While some of the Port Jefferson players attended a Cyrus concert at Jones Beach, the Royals were left with only eight players for their Town of Brookhaven Summer League small school semifinal against Shoreham-Wading River on Friday evening.

It wasn’t enough.

(more…)

07/31/14 12:07am
07/31/2014 12:07 AM
Shoreham-Wading River Alex Hutchins faces double-team pressure during her the Wildcats' 43-30 win over Sayville. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Shoreham-Wading River’s Alex Hutchins faces double-team pressure during the Wildcats’ 43-30 win over Sayville on the final night of the regular season. (Credit: Garret Meade)

This has been a summer of basketball for Courtney Clasen, and a busy one, at that.

A player of unquestioned athleticism, Clasen has been known for being more of an athlete who plays basketball than a basketball player. So, this summer she went about working on that by playing for an Amateur Athletic Union team, the Long Island Renegades, and seeing the larger basketball world outside of Suffolk County. An intensive schedule saw the Renegades play close to 30 games (including 13 this past week) while traveling around the country and playing in places like Washington, D.C., Chicago and Orlando.

That’s a lot of basketball, and it was beneficial to the Shoreham-Wading River High School senior. (more…)

02/14/14 9:17pm
02/14/2014 9:17 PM

Shoreham-Wading River junior Courtney Clasen tallied a triple double in the Wildcats’ playoff win over Sayville Friday night. (Bill Landon photo)

CLASS A FIRST ROUND  |  WILDCATS 38, GOLDEN FLASHES 34

Courtney Clasen was admittedly frustrated through most of the first three quarters Friday night. The Shoreham-Wading River junior couldn’t buy a bucket, her team couldn’t hit a free throw and the turnovers continued to pile up.

Sayville opened its largest led of the game at 29-19 with 1:41 left in the third quarter of a Class A first round playoff game, which was slowly slipping away from the fourth-seeded Wildcats. (more…)

12/27/13 4:17pm
12/27/2013 4:17 PM
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River's Courtney Clasen was unable to block this shot by Mattituck's Liz Dwyer in the first quarter, but Clasen finished with the game with 9 blocks.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River’s Courtney Clasen was unable to block this shot by Mattituck’s Liz Dwyer in the first quarter, but Clasen finished with the game with 9 blocks.

WILDCATS 50, TUCKERS 45

The Shoreham-Wading River High School girls basketball team suffered a blow recently when one of its best players, senior forward Taylor Whiffen, transferred; she now plays for Sachem East.

The Wildcats undoubtedly felt the loss, but they can be thankful they still have Courtney Clasen. A powerful reminder of Clasen’s value was given Friday when the forward seemed to be everywhere at once, making big plays down the stretch to hold off Mattituck in a non-league game in Shoreham.

What did Clasen do in her team’s 50-45 victory?

Just about everything.

The 5-foot-9 junior scored 21 points, just 1 shy of her career-high, shooting 8 of 16 from the field and 5 of 7 from the free-throw line. She also was a force under the boards, coming down with 19 rebounds in addition to blocking 9 shots. And, for the record, her statistical line also included 4 steals and 2 assists.

Perhaps even more impressive afterward was the postgame reaction of her coach, Adam Lievre, when asked about Clasen’s performance. “Typical” was the word he used.

A typical showing for an atypical player.

Katie Hoeg, who guarded Clasen for most of the game, called her the best all-around player she ever played against.

Clasen’s contributions were the undoubted difference. The Wildcats (4-3) twice built leads as large as 10 points, only to see Mattituck (5-4) close the gap after 5 straight points by Shannon Dwyer and back-to-back baskets by Tiana Baker (the first a 3-pointer). They were part of a 14-2 run that gave the Tuckers a 41-39 edge in the fourth quarter. But moments later, Dwyer picked up her fourth personal foul. She then was charged with a blocking foul to foul out with 3 minutes 5 seconds left in the game.

That was a gut punch for the Tuckers, who held a 1-point lead at the time of Dwyer’s exit to the bench. Meanwhile, Clasen, athletic and fast, continued to do her thing as the contest saw six lead changes in the final 3:57.

Mattituck’s last lead came when Liz Dwyer, Shannon’s younger sister, hit a foul-line jumper for a 45-44 score with less than two minutes to go. Those were Mattituck’s last points.

A free throw by Shoreham’s Jessica McCormack evened the score at 45-45.

Perhaps fittingly, Clasen’s hustle brought about the go-ahead point for her team. After McCormack missed her second free throw, Mattituck’s Courtney Murphy came down with the rebound, but Clasen stole the ball away from her and drew a foul. Clasen made one of the foul shots with 1:19 to go, putting her side ahead for good. Later, she converted a layup off a slicing drive through the middle of the lane and hit a pair of free throws after Baker fouled out with 8.3 seconds left.

Shoreham’s next leading scorer after Clasen was Shannon Rosati with 8 points.

Shannon Dwyer, who shot 5 of 15 from the field and sank 6 of 8 foul shots, finished with 16 points. Liz Dwyer produced 10 points. Hoeg collected 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals to go with 6 points.

It was the fourth game the Wildcats played since they lost Whiffen, but it was also the first game back for Kerri Clark, the senior guard who suffered a hamstring injury in the season opener. Clark supplied 7 points coming off the bench.

Mattituck, which had won three of its previous four games, is no stranger to injury, either. The Tuckers are without Colby Prokop for the rest of the season. The junior guard suffered tears to her anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, said Mattituck coach Steve Van Dood.

bliepa@timesreview.com

09/28/13 11:03pm
09/28/2013 11:03 PM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River junior Courtney Clasen scored three goals Saturday night in the Wildcats’ 5-0 win over East Hampton.

WILDCATS 5, BONACKERS 0

Courtney Clasen is listed on the Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer roster as a midfielder and goalkeeper, but don’t look for her to tend goal any time soon.

Not after Saturday night’s performance in which she made life miserable for East Hampton keeper Francesca Schelfhat and her teammates.

Clasen struck for a hat trick in the Wildcats’ 5-0 triumph in the League VI match, heading home two goals. Just as importantly, she pulled the attacking strings of the Wildcats (3-2 League VI, 4-2) in Shoreham.

The junior All-County midfielder had many spectators and coaches uttering superlatives about her magnificent performance.

A sampling:

“She’s an unbelievable player,” said Shoreham boys coach Andrew Moschetti, whose team played in the second game of a rare soccer doubleheader on the school’s football field on Senior Pride Weekend. “Every coach would love to have a player like her on the team. Coach [Adrian] Gilmore and the girls are lucky to have her.”

Gilmore added: ”She’s my key player. Everything comes from the middle from her goes to the outside and back through the middle. At times she’s taking on two, three defenders and comes out with the ball. She’s just a tremendous athlete. It’s so nice to watch her play.”

But perhaps not so nice if you are the opposing coach, although East Hampton coach Mike Vitulli, whose team fell to 0-6 in league, praised Clasen.

“They are very dangerous in the air,” he said. “Any free kick is a problem. Clasen, she’s just unbelievable in the air. She just comes out of nowhere.”

About the only person who wasn’t impressed was Clasen herself.

“It was all right,” she said. “My passes were a little off.”

Maybe, maybe not.

But one thing was quite certain — she was spot on when shooting at the goal, whether it was with her feet or head.

By the time Clasen had scored the Wildcats already had a 2-0 lead. Emily Blunnie put in an Emily Sopko feed from 25 yards with 27:39 remaining in the first half before defender Shannon Lamprecht knocked the ball into her own net with 25:14 left. She increased the lead to 3-0 off a left-wing cross from Alex Kunhle with 8:46 remaining in the half.

Clasen was devastating on air balls. She is 5-7, but she jumps like a player who is several inches taller.

“We had a real hard covering her every which way,” Vitulli said. “She gets up over the ball and she’s real weapon for them.”

Clasen said that she likes to go sky high. “It’s one of my favorite things to do,” she said. “I just get up in the air and use my height and knock it in.”

We’ll never know how Clasen the goalkeeper would fare against Clasen the midfielder. Shoreham goalkeeper Kelly Wynkoop gave Gilmore and the rest of the Wildcats a scare when a Bonacker player kicked her in the knee with 35:13 remaining in the match. Wynkoop was OK, but had she not been able to play, Clasen would have had to come on.

“I was very concerned, with Kelly being such a great force in the back to lose her,” Gilmore said. “It’s detrimental to the team. And to take Courtney off the field and have to put her in goal, you’re taking two of your key players, best players on the team and shaking it up. And that’s never what you want to do in a game.”

A little more than two minutes later, Calsen scored again, heading in a 35-yard free kick from Blunnie with 33:54 left. She made it a natural hat trick, scoring from point-blank range with 31:21 remaining. Clasen never got an opportunity for another goal because Gilmore sat her down for the remainder of the contest.

Gilmore hoped that she never will have an opportunity to use Clasen in the nets, even if she has stood out in the position for her club team, Sound Beach Stingrays United.

“No, I would never put her in goal,” Gilmore said.  “But the best thing about her if you saw her in goal, she’s equally as good as good in the goal. If she was a different kid and on a different team, she would be the goalie. She is a tremendous goalie.”

And for one night, a hat trick hero.

08/05/13 10:26pm
08/05/2013 10:26 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River's Courtney Clasen driving to the basket during her team's summer league semifinal win over Sayville on Monday evening.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River’s Courtney Clasen driving to the basket during her team’s summer league semifinal win over Sayville on Monday evening.

Is she a scorer?

Most definitely.

Is she a rebounder?

Absolutely.

Is she a playmaker?

No question about it.

Is she an intimidating defensive presence?

She sure is.

The truth is, Courtney Clasen is all of the above. A player who is not easily defined by a single skill, Clasen brings a fine all-around game to the Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball team. So, when one asks the team’s new coach, Adam Lievre, what Clasen’s official position is, the questioner is bound to encounter a stumped look from the coach. And that isn’t just because Lievre is planning to run a wide open offense during the coming school season, and positions aren’t expected to matter much. Clasen has the ability to play any position on the court. She can bring the ball down the floor as well as play in the post. It’s really an unusual versatility that one doesn’t see often.

Putting it in succinct terms, Lievre said, “She does everything.”

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Jessica McCormick of Shoreham-Wading River battling for a loose ball under the basket.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Jessica McCormick of Shoreham-Wading River battling for a loose ball under the basket.

Now Lievre’s job is to convince the modest Clasen to believe in herself more.

“My goal for the summer and the school year is to get her to realize that she’s even better than she thinks she is,” he said after a recent game. “There are a couple of times — even [Clasen’s teammate] Taylor [Whiffen] said it — she puts on a second gear that someone her size just can’t stay up with. There were a couple of times she got a rebound and just took off. She’s quicker than most people and she jumps higher than everybody.”

Clasen, who will be entering her third varsity season as a junior, gave a good demonstration of what she has to offer as a basketball player on Monday evening in her team’s 32-21 defeat of Sayville in a Town of Brookhaven Summer League small schools semifinal. She totaled 8 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists and 2 blocks in the game at Patchogue-Medford High School.

Not bad at all.

When asked about how she developed her all-around game, Clasen indicated she doesn’t give much thought to it. “I just go out and play,” she said.

“She’s a great player,” said Whiffen, who has also spent time this summer playing AAU ball for the Long Island Renegades. “She’s everywhere on the court. She understands the game really well.”

With the graduation of Meghan King, the team’s leadership mantle has been passed on to Clasen, Shannon Rosati and Whiffen.

The Wildcats didn’t have Rosati for the semifinal, but they did have Whiffen, who provided 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals.

Lievre said he values Clasen most for her rebounding, but Whiffen can also crash the boards. “She’s really one of the first girls that we’ve had that can really play with her back to the basket and make a post move,” the coach said.

With Monday’s win, Shoreham qualified for the small schools final on Wednesday night against either Eastport/South Manor or Hampton Bays at St. Joseph’s College.

Monday’s result aside, the Wildcats are hoping for a cleaner performance. The semifinal was a sloppy affair, with both teams combining for 60 turnovers.

“It definitely wasn’t our prettiest game,” said Lievre.

Neither side shot well, either, but Shoreham atoned for its offensive sins by dominating on the boards, 31-15.

Erin MacDevitt led Sayville with 11 points.

Lievre didn’t sound too concerned with the offense, though. “Even doing JV for 10 years, I always told [the players that] summer league is defense. We’ll worry about offense during the school year.”

And reaching a small schools final is a nice plus.

Said Lievre, “Winning isn’t everything, but it’s nice to win, and it’s something to build on.”

bliepa@timesreview.com