For Monarchs, a loss within a win; Bieber sprains ankle

GEORGE FAELLA PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy forward Amy Boden led the Monarchs with 16 points.

PORT JEFFERSON — The Bishop McGann-Mercy High School girls basketball team recorded a relatively easy victory over Port Jefferson on Monday, yet the Monarchs still suffered a loss.

Point guard Brieanne Bieber was forced to watch most of the Suffolk County League VIII game on the sidelines after suffering a sprained left ankle in the first quarter of the 47-22 win.

She probably will be out for 10 days, according to Coach Jacki Paton. Bieber could miss Thursday’s home game against Shelter Island and the Jan. 18 game at The Ross School.

“It definitely affects us,” Paton said. “When we played our first league game she literally got 10 tie-ups. Defensively, that’s going to hurt us. She’s the one who’s double-teaming off the ball. She just reads things well.

“She does a lot of little things where she doesn’t get a lot of stats, but she’s the gnat on the court. She just pressures people. She puts them into tough situations and then she knows how to work with her teammates to create defensive situations that are going to help us offensively.”

Bieber was injured with 1 minute 13 seconds remaining in the first quarter while defending against Port Jeff (0-3, 0-1). “I picked up on their run play,” she said. “I was going to cut off the pass. As I was cutting down the lane my ankle just rolled on me.”

She was replaced by Emily Yakaboski, watching the game with her left leg propped up on a chair. “It’s really frustrating,” she said. “I’m just going to rest it and ice it for a bit and hope for the best.”

The Monarchs (3-4, 2-1) could not have asked for anything more on Monday. Bieber scored the first basket as the Monarchs grabbed a 13-0 first-quarter advantage. They dominated just about every part of the game, whether it was shooting, rebounding or forcing turnovers.

McGann-Mercy defeated Port Jeff, 38-21, in a non-league game on Dec. 7. Asked if she saw anything different this time, Royals Coach Debbie Edgar-Brown replied with a laugh, “Every shot they threw up today went in.”

Still, Paton wasn’t totally satisfied.

“I would have liked them to come out a little more aggressive,” she said. “But they moved the ball nice. We were trying to work on certain things, looking for certain things out of our offense. We found some other options that we haven’t been using. Defensively, the second half, they picked up the intensity a lot.”

Forward Amy Boden, who led the Monarchs with 16 points, agreed. “It was a Monday that got us,” she said. “We weren’t on our game, but we picked it up in the second half.”

Boden connected for eight points in each of the first and third quarters, seemingly scoring whenever she wanted to.

Paton said Boden has improved her game with better decision-making.

“She’s definitely our go-to-girl,” she said. “But the greatest thing about her right now is that she’s learned to play to play very mature. If she does get double-teamed she can find the weak side pass to get somebody in a great scoring position. She can take somebody one-on-one. She has been facing up very well. She has been finishing strong.

GEORGE FAELLA PHOTO | Ashley Yakaboski came off the Bishop McGann-Mercy bench to supply five points and five rebounds.

“It’s just about getting her the ball. She has learned that if she is doubled, she can trust her teammates.”

Port Jeff committed 39 turnovers, some forced, some unforced. McGann-Mercy made 24 turnovers.

“They were anticipating our passes,” Edgar-Brown said. “They’re very aggressive.”

The huge first-period lead allowed Paton to rest her starting five in the second quarter, giving her substitutes some quality time early on.

Forward Teresa Gomes, (team-high six points) scored Port Jeff’s first points 1:14 into the second quarter. The Royals cut the margin to 15-8 before McGann-Mercy went on a 12-4 roll to take a 27-12 halftime lead.

The subs tallied 21 points as nine players made the scoresheet. Dani Gehring and Ashley Yakaboski (team-high five rebounds) finished with five points apiece.

“We wanted everybody to get some playing time to see what they could do,” Paton said. “They all have been working hard. They’ve all been committed. It’s 13 kids, so its hard to get them all in. It gave them a great opportunity to play and get more experience.”