Girls Basketball: As SWR coach surpasses 100 career wins, Wildcats (16-1) set sights on league title
That’s over a hundred wins in the books for Adam Lievre. Sounds like there are a lot more wins to come for the man who turns 43 in March, right?
“We’ll see,” he said. “We’ll see.”
Lievre picked up his 100th career coaching win with the Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball team’s 52-22 home defeat of Hampton Bays Jan. 20. In an interview with the Riverhead News-Review pegged around that achievement, he spoke about his passion for coaching basketball and his future.
What does he like best about coaching?
“The planning and the watching film and game planning,” he said. “There’s nothing better than November to February or March. There’s nothing better than that time of year.”
Does he still enjoy coaching?
“I love every minute of it,” he said.
And what does the future hold for Lievre?
That’s where things get a little tricky. Lievre and his wife, Kristin, have two basketball-playing boys — Tyler, a sixth-grader, and Brody, a third-grader.
“With my kids getting older and getting close to playing school ball, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to go,” he said. “Sometimes it sounds like an easier thing for me to give up than it’s probably going to be when I do. But I will miss it desperately, but at the same time, you know, I can’t miss my boys’ games, so it’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be a tough choice at that point. I’m good for this year and I’m definitely good next year and we’ll see after that. It will be tough.”
Meanwhile, the wins and the memories keep piling up.
A former SWR basketball player himself who lives in Wading River, Lievre is in his ninth season as SWR’s varsity coach, building a 103-57 career record. He coached the junior varsity team for nine years before that following one season with the middle school team.
This will be the ninth time in nine years that he will take SWR (16-1, 9-1 Suffolk County League VI) to the playoffs, a fabulous run of consistency.
“Every year we’re good and I don’t have to worry about us being a competitive team,” Lievre said. “The girls come in every year, they work hard so it’s really a testament to the girls coming in year after year and really just being able to keep the momentum going.”
The current Wildcats are having one heck of a season, as their record indicates. Lievre rates this, along with the 2016-17 squad, as one of the best teams he has coached.
Both SWR and Mount Sinai (13-3, 9-1), who each have two games remaining, including a showdown in Shoreham Thursday, are tied for first place. SWR is pursuing a 10th league title.
Class A SWR has never won a county championship, and that remains a challenge this year.
“Class A gets tougher every year,” said Lievre, noting that there are 22 Class A teams in Suffolk. “It’s a lot bigger than it ever was.”
SWR has been going with a starting five of Sophie Costello (16 points per game), GraceAnn Leonard (13), Annie Sheehan (10), Mia Rosati and Carlie Cutinella. Sophia Lavey has started some games, sharing the 5 spot with Rosati. Colleen Ohrtman is the first guard off the bench, and Juliana Mahan, in her first varsity season, has turned in good minutes.
Defense has been the key. SWR has let up as many as 45 points only twice this season.
“Defense, defense and defense,” Lievre said. “They’re relentless.”
In a 59-42 win over Elwood/John Glenn Jan. 14, Leonard had 17 steals by herself, Costello pilfered another six and SWR forced 30 turnovers.
SWR’s strong play continued last Thursday in a 66-31 win at Bayport-Blue Point. Costello scored 21 points, Leonard 16 and Sheehan 11.
“From start to finish, defensively, energy, enthusiasm, teamwork, it was the best game we’ve played all year,” Lievre said. “It was just everything really came together. I thought to the final buzzer the girls were all in, the bench was all in.”
It’s an experienced team. Four seniors will graduate, taking 14 seasons of varsity experience with them. Leonard, Costello and Sheehan are in their fourth varsity seasons as juniors.
Prior to SWR’s 60-42 home win over Miller Place Jan. 25, a banner and balloons were set up for a behind-the-scenes celebration of Lievre’s 100th win. Assistant coach Brittany Davis reached out to former players, who sent congratulatory notes.
“That was really, really cool,” Lievre said. “It was tough to read that before the game.”
It will be tough when the day arrives that Lievre steps away from coaching. That doesn’t mean he’ll walk away from basketball, though.
“When I’m done coaching,” he said, “I’ll still be in the stands.”
Some habits are hard to break.