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

01/24/13 6:44pm
01/24/2013 6:44 PM

WILDCATS 45, MUSTANGS 17

The game itself was surely not a work of art. It is highly doubtful that the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will be calling to request video of Thursday’s girls basketball game between Shoreham-Wading River and Mount Sinai. In fact, the Shoreham-Wading River coach, Dennis Haughney, said he wouldn’t watch the game video if he didn’t have to.

Not that Shoreham-Wading River didn’t play well, because it did, and in the process, the Wildcats coasted to a 45-17 win that kept them running virtually neck and neck with Elwood/John Glenn in the race for the Suffolk County League VI championship. It was Shoreham-Wading River’s 11th win in 12 games and third straight victory since an 18-point loss to Elwood/John Glenn.

This could be a special season for Shoreham-Wading River (11-4, 8-1), which is seeking its first league title since 2002.

“You want to give it a shot,” Haughney said. “We don’t talk about it a lot.”

But the Wildcats have a lot to play for, nonetheless.

“We’re working so hard,” junior forward Taylor Whiffen said. “There’s something for us to accomplish. We’ve been trying this for years. Last year we wanted to win [the league], but this year we really think we have a chance.”

Shoreham-Wading River kept its chances looking good by taking care of business Thursday at Mount Sinai High School in a game that didn’t always look so good.

For most of the opening six minutes, the score stood at 2-0 Shoreham-Wading River thanks to a basket by Meghan King. Both teams were in a shooting funk, and the first quarter ended with the score 6-0. But as the Wildcats slowly picked up their scoring, their defense remained intense, and Mount Sinai (7-7, 2-7) struggled mightily. The Mustangs finally got on the scoreboard when Carissa Gulli made a free throw 1:55 into the second quarter.

Mount Sinai managed only 3 points in the first half from three free throws, and it missed its first nine shots from the field. Shoreham-Wading River held the Mustangs without a field goal until Kate Hogan put in a two-handed shot in the paint 16 seconds into the third quarter.

Mount Sinai shot 6 of 34 (17.6 percent) from the field for the game, yet managed to make it a 10-point contest when a basket by Marisa Colacino cut Shoreham-Wading River’s lead to 17-7 early in the third quarter.

Haughney couldn’t rest easy. “I’ve seen crazy stuff happen,” he said.

But the Wildcats then scored the next 9 points — 6 of them coming from King — to run the score to 26-7. Later, Shoreham-Wading River opened the fourth quarter with a 16-4 spurt in which six players scored for the Wildcats, giving their side a 42-15 lead late in the game.

King had a big day. Before the senior forward made her exit along with teammate Courtney Clasen with 1:49 left in the game, she had collected 15 points, 11 rebounds, 6 steals and 1 blocked shot. Keri Clark added 10 points with the aid of three 3-point shots. Clasen totaled 5 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 blocked shot.

Shoreham-Wading River outrebounded the home team by 44-27 and by 18-5 on the offensive glass.

What King liked best about the game, though, was Shoreham-Wading River’s ball movement.

“It was a good game for passing,” she said. “We still had mistakes, obviously, and that’s going to happen with every game. We were finding the open girl and passing inside.”

Shoreham-Wading River didn’t exactly shoot the lights out, hitting 15 of 46 (32.6 percent) field-goal attempts, but it played aggressive defense, challenging Mount Sinai shooters at every turn.

Jessica Parente was the top scorer for Mount Sinai with 8 points.

“Defensively, we always work hard, and I think that always gives us a chance,” Haughney said. “I really feel like we haven’t brought our best game yet as far as just all around hitting shots and whatnot. I guess we’re just athletic enough and work hard enough and do enough good things just to win the games.”

Shoreham-Wading River started the day in second place, a half-game behind Elwood/John Glenn. The teams will meet in their final regular-season game on Feb. 8 in Shoreham. That game could be for the league crown.

“I think we’re finally starting to work as a team,” Whiffen said. “We’re moving the ball more, our shots are falling. We’ve been working hard, and it’s paying off. We haven’t played our best game but we’re still working hard, and it will come.”

bliepa@timesreview.com