Girls Basketball: SWR improves to 18-0 with another blowout victory

Another game, another win for the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats.

On senior night at Miller Place High School, it was two Shoreham-Wading River seniors who stole the show. With GraceAnn Leonard and Sophie Costello leading the way, the Wildcats took care of business and defeated Miller Place on Monday, 65-20.

With the playoffs on the horizon and the Wildcats beating most of their opponents handily, Shoreham-Wading River head coach Adam Lievre has been resting his starters and allowing his bench to get much needed playing time. There’s no need to risk injury in games that don’t mean that much. But basketball is a game of rhythm so the starters still need to get their minutes.

Costello and Leonard caused havoc on the defensive end and forced Miller Place to commit turnovers pretty much every possession down the floor. The first play of the game, Miller Place won the tip-off but Costello swooped in, ripped through and slapped the ball away for a steal and scored an easy basket at the other end. The duo combined for 10 steals in limited playing time. Leonard scored 16 points to lead Shoreham-Wading River. Many of those points were easy layups.

“Our defense is definitely our strongest point,” Leonard said. “We get most of our points in transition. We’ve been playing this defense for years now so we all know our spots and how to get steals and work together.” 

Shoreham-Wading River (11-0 Division IV, 18-0 overall) was so dominant, they got ahead 23-0 in the first quarter before Lievre decided to pull the starters. Miller Place (1-10 Division IV, 1-16 overall) had a hard time scoring, even against the second unit. 

“We start off strong so we can put the game away,” Leonard said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. The more playing time we can get for the girls on the bench, the better it is for us. It’s important to get everyone playing time because you never know if we get an injury in the playoffs, we will need one of those girls to step up in our place.”

They may be on the bench for the Wildcats but a lot of those girls would be starters elsewhere. Practices are intense.

“This is the deepest team I’ve had in my 20 years of coaching,” Lievre said. “They challenge each other in practice. The second team beat our first team the other day. We’re really solid, one through 14.”

With only two games remaining in the season, Lievre is encouraging the girls to stay the course and continue getting better.

“We’re just trying to keep the momentum going,” Lievre said. “We’re 18-0. We have to keep our play up. We don’t want to have a drop off. We want to play with the same intensity no matter who we’re playing.”