CLIPPERS 73, BEARS 39
The seven seniors on the Southold/Greenport girls basketball team knew that, regardless of the outcome, Thursday’s game would be the last they will have played in the Southold High School gym. What they didn’t want, however, was for it to be the last game of their high school careers.
It wasn’t. The Clippers are heading into the playoffs.
Needing to win their final regular-season game in order to earn a playoff berth for the sixth straight year, the Clippers did just that, in convincing fashion, too. They extended the careers of their seniors on Senior Day by thrashing The Stony Brook School, 73-39, behind a career-high 24 points from one of those seniors, guard Cari Gehring.
“We obviously knew that it was a make-or-break moment for us,” said Gehring.
The Clippers are expected to be paired against Pierson/Bridgehampton in the Suffolk County Class C final on Feb. 18 in Northport. The two teams beat each other once this season.
The Clippers (5-12, 5-5 League VIII), who had lost the last six games they played, hit on 10 of their first 16 field-goal attempts and shot out to a commanding 29-4 advantage with the aid of a relentless press. The Clippers had little trouble from the start and led by as many as 39 points when a Justina Babcock basket made the score 73-34.
Southold/Greenport’s hounding defense caused problems for Stony Brook (2-12, 2-7), which turned the ball over 24 times.
The Clippers had their shooting shoes on, making 50 percent (32 of 64) of their shots from the field. Gehring was a big part of that, shooting 9 of 13 herself, including 5 of 7 from behind the 3-point arc. She also had 7 assists.
Babcock supplied 13 points and 6 assists. Cindy Van Bourgondien added 10 points.
Stony Brook, which picked up its only two wins from forfeits by The Ross School, was led with 17 points from Annie Skorbohaty, who shot 7 of 14 (3 of 5 from 3-point distance).
Southold/Greenport’s seniors — Jessica Rizzo, Abby Scharadin, Shannon Smith, Shannon Quinn, Babcock, Gehring and Van Bourgondien — were recognized during a halftime ceremony. Sitting on seats with balloons decorated to look like basketballs tied to them, the seniors listened as coach Joe Read praised them during remarks to the spectators.
“It has been my pleasure to coach each of these girls,” Read said. “They will remember each other. They will remember the basketball experience they had at Southold. They will remember each other as a team.”
And they will assuredly remember the vital win that punched their ticket to the playoffs.