Here are Mike Zacchio’s post-game notes from the North Rockland at Pearl River game earlier today:
PEARL RIVER — Pearl River used a huge first quarter to propel itself to a 70-54 win over North Rockland at home Monday afternoon. Read the game story and view a photo gallery here.
Now, granted, Pearl River (9-2) has not won any championships this year (not yet, at least), but the reigning Section 1 Class A champs are looking pretty good to defend their crown.
Hosting one of the highest scoring team’s in the section, North Rockland (11-3), which was averaging just under 70 points per game entering Monday, head coach Lorraine Moylan and her Pirates took care of business at the Pirates Cove.
The Pirates opened the game on a 9-0 run, overwhelming the youthful Red Raiders with defense. North Rockland didn’t get a shot off until two minutes in.
But they adjusted, and managed to go on a 5-0 run of their own to catch up. But from there it was all Pearl River again. The Pirates ended the quarter on a 15-1 run, securing a comfortable 18-point lead.
“We came down as a team last Friday and watched (Pearl River) play Tappan Zee, and one of the things we talked about going back into practice was, ‘Not letting Pearl River get out quick, and taking advantage of (Pearl River’s) mistakes,'” Red Raiders coach Kevin Metcalf said. “I think (Pearl River) was a little nervous, as strange as it sounds, up 9-0 because there was a couple of turnovers, but we didn’t capitalize.”
Another major factor holding North Rockland back? One of its best players was on the bench.
Senior captain Alex Bertolino recorded her third foul of the game at just the 2:12 mark of the first quarter, forcing her to sit it out. At that point in the game, she had scored all six of North Rockland’s points.
By then, she had now scored all 12 of North Rockland’s points.
“That was definitely an advantage for us — having one of their best guards be out with four (fouls) at halftime,” Pearl River senior captain Missy Scognamiglio said. “We knew (Bertolino) was on the bench, so we knew we had to capitalize on her not being in the game.”
Metcalf said it was “frustrating” knowing that he had Bertolino on the bench, but essentially couldn’t use her.
“As a coach, I said to everybody that had asked, ‘If we could get through the first quarter, I thought we’d be okay,’ so I made the decision as coach — there’s no sense saving (Bertolino) because who knows at 24-6 if we’ll be able to climb back in it.”
Bertolino still led all scorers with 16 points, despite playing limited time.
In many ways though, as I said going into the game, these are two very similar teams — young, fast-paced, high-energy, etc. which is a change of pace for the Pirates, who are usually at a height disadvantage.
“We kind of like that, because we like an upbeat game, fast-paced, up-tempo; so it’s nice to play a team like that,” Scognamiglio (13, pictured above right) said. “Yes, it’s a little weird playing a press that they do, and breaking a press the same way they do, it’s kind of like a flip-flop.”
North Rockland managed to stop the bleeding despite Bertolino’s absence from the court, outscoring the Pirates 34-27 in the second and third quarters behind two of its super sophomores: Ciera Rivera (24, pictured above left) and Olivia Burden (14, pictured above right).
Rivera scored 11 of her 15 points in the third quarter, while Burden scored 11 of her 13 in the fourth behind back-t0-back-to-back 3-pointers.
Burden’s final 3 brought the Red Raiders to within eight, but that’s as close as they would get.
Pearl River unleashed its own super sophomore in Emma Daly, who scored nine of her game-high 16 points in the final quarter despite four personal fouls.
“I knew for us to win that we would really have to do well on the boards, so I just had to be really tough and get lots of rebounds,” she said. “The past couple of games, I haven’t been doing that well, so I knew I needed to prove myself — and this was a good game to prove myself.”
Pearl River also received big contributions from Amanda DeCourcey (11 points) and Jess Dolan (10, pictured right) (nine points, eight rebounds) in the win.
The two will have little time to plan for a rematch, as the Red Raiders will host a grudge match on Friday at 4 p.m., one that I’m sure both teams are looking forward to.
“I’d rather play good teams,” Pirates coach Lorraine Moylan said. “They’re a good team to play, I think that you have to ‘rise to the occasion’ to play a good team like that, and they make you pay for any kind of little mistakes that you make.”
Moylan continued, “It’s good — I think you learn from your mistakes, and I think it makes you a better basketball team.”
By the numbers: North Rockland (10-3) at Pearl River (9-2)
Swiper, no swiping! Pearl River tallied an astounding 21 steals in its win over North Rockland Monday, including nine in the first quarter which led to a 24-6 lead.
Bertolino ‘dozen”t mind scoring: Senior captain Alex Bertolino scored North Rockland’s first 12 points of the game before being forced to sit with four personal fouls just 12 minutes into the game. Bertolino did not miss a single field goal all game (missed two free-throws).
‘Arc’hitects: The teams combined to make 14 shots from beyond the arc today; eight from Pearl River, and six from North Rockland.
Driving and thriving: Pearl River knew the key to beating North Rockland would likely be in the paint, and they did everything they could to do so. The Pirates got to the line 23 times, while the Red Raiders got there just 12 times.
Welfare anyone? If anyone could have used some “charity” today, it was these two teams. Both shot a combined 54.2 percent from the free-throw line (Pearl River 13-for-23, North Rockland 6-for-12).
Here are some of the other results we received tonight:
Monday, January 21
Suffern 51, Cornwall 25
Pearl River 70, North Rockland 54 — GAME OF THE NIGHT
Peekskill at Non-region opponent, 3 p.m.
Consolation: Pelham 58, Yorktown 50
Championship: Nanuet 54, Lakeland 35
Suffern 51, Cornwall 25: At Suffern, Samantha Cimillo had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Mounties. Nicole Liddy and Toni Johnson each had eight points.
Nanuet 54, Lakeland 35: In the championship of the George Budries Tournament at Lakeland, Dana Rohan had 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for the Golden Knights. Theresa Jelalian had 16 points and five assists. Molly Fitzpatrick had seven points for the Hornets.
Game of the Night recap: (Overall record, games broken by final score)
Phil Terrigno: 4-1 (3-0) — predicted a 66-56 Pearl River win (total of six points off)
Mike Zacchio: 1-4 (0-3) — predicted a 57-50 Pearl River win (total of 17 points off)
Today’s record: 4-0
Season record: 171-55