This may have been a breakthrough.
In the weeks to come, the Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball team may look back at Friday’s home victory over Amityville as the shot in the arm that it needed. After losses in their previous five games, the Wildcats must have wondered where their next win would come from. And then it arrived — convincing and one-sided, just the way they like them.
Not that SWR can be choosy, but its 23-point trouncing of Amityville in a Suffolk County League VI game was just what the doctor ordered.
“I think this game was really important in terms of obviously our record, but also our team confidence,” senior forward Abby Korzekwinski said after her team ushered in the new year with a 51-28 thumping of Amityville. “We lost five straight games, so it really helps to get a win and play hard. Now we know what it feels like to win again.”
To appreciate how vital the victory was for SWR, consider what the Wildcats have gone through. They lost, in order, by five points to Westhampton Beach, by four points to Elwood/John Glenn, by eight points to Bayport-Blue Point, by two points to Newfield and by five points to Sachem North. That’s five losses (three league games) decided by a total of 24 points. SWR dropped league games in which it had the lead entering the fourth quarter. It lost one game in overtime.
Friday’s win was SWR’s first since a defeat of Miller Place way back on Dec. 10. This one had to feel good.
“We needed one,” said coach Adam Lievre.
Lievre said he had told his players: “I’m sick of losing. I’m sure you guys are, too.”
Apparently they were. Lievre said the Wildcats had their best practice of the season Thursday. It showed in their play Friday. Something clicked.
Facing an Amityville team that had only seven players in uniform, SWR scored the game’s first 10 points on layups by Rosati, Korzekwinski and Sophie Costello, a shot off the glass by Costello and putback by Mia Rosati, who was fouled on the play.
Amityville, which struggled against a 1-3-1 defense that produced 31 turnovers, didn’t put up its first points until Jordon Tobin’s layup 4 minutes and 40 seconds into the game.
SWR reeled off 11 straight points for a 26-point lead in the third quarter. It was 40-18 after three quarters.
“I think we played really well,” Rosati said. “We all worked together, and we needed to do that because we haven’t really been working like that as a team this season, so I’m glad that we all came together.”
Korzekwinski netted 13 of her 19 points in the first half. She also gathered 10 rebounds.
“I really think we can go far as long as we just keep putting these games in the win column,” Korzekwinski said. “We just got to keep it rolling and keep up the good work.”
Rosati, sophomore guard who sat out last season with a knee injury, turned in a career-high 10 points to go with seven steals. “Mia probably had the best game she played all year,” Lievre said. “I don’t think she’s completely back to her athletic self yet and I think as every day goes by she gets a little bit better. I thought today she moved about as well as she has all season.”
With the positive result came a positive mindset. SWR’s GraceAnn Leonard, who had nine points and five steals, said, “I think after this game we can keep winning.”
Tobin led Amityville with 15 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Tyeesha Billinger added six points and nine boards.
With the win, SWR brought its record to 5-6, 3-4 in league play. Amityville dropped to 3-7, 2-5.
Every league win is precious and time is running. SWR’s final regular-season game will be on Feb. 5.
Don’t shoot too much from the outside. Get to the basket. Play better defense.
That may be the formula for SWR to turn things around. At least that’s how Lievre sees it.
He said, “For one day, it worked.”