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?
Is she a rebounder?
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.
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.”