Even before he got to know her, Skip Gehring had been tipped off about Adrine Demirciyan.
The Southold/Greenport high school girls basketball coach had heard from coaches in Greenport, where Demirciyan attends high school. Gehring recalled: “The coaches at Greenport were saying, ‘Don’t let her play JV. Get her right on your varsity.’ ”
This past summer, Gehring worked with Demirciyan at open gym sessions and saw for himself that this eighth-grader wasn’t a junior varsity player.
So, it was right to the varsity team for her.
“This year I expected to be on JV,” Demirciyan said. “He pulled me right up because he had faith in me and believed that I could do something really good one day. It was a happy day.”
Undoubtedly, there are many more happy days to come for the 5-5 point guard, who has been playing basketball since she was in fourth grade. That explains why she doesn’t play like an eighth-grader.
“She’s been amazing,” Southold senior Liz Clark said. “She reminds me of Maddy Tabor [Greenport’s all-time leading scorer who graduated last year after scoring 1,036 career points] in how she just penetrates, dishes. She draws the defense out and then creates open looks for us.”
Gehring said: “What it winds up doing is it opens up the floor for us. She’s not just a good ballhandler. She’s fast, she’s athletic and a little bit fearless.”
That was evident Monday night when, under the pressure of Babylon’s hounding full-court press, Demirciyan didn’t shy away from having the ball in her hands.
“As an eighth-grader, she’s one of the few girls that when they were pressing, that wanted the ball,” Gehring said after the 41-39 loss at Southold High School. “A lot of the other girls were panicking, didn’t want it. She wanted it.”
Demirciyan scored nine of her 12 points (right at her season average and three under her season-high) during a 24-7 Southold run that gave the First Settlers their largest lead at 32-26. She also had six rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Although she doesn’t start, Demirciyan has played the majority of all the games.
“I put my best efforts in,” she said. “That’s all I care about. I like to pass, I like to dribble, I like to shoot. I like it all. It’s just my thing.”
Babylon coach Chris Ryan was impressed by what he saw from Demirciyan. “She’s got a bright future ahead,” he said. “I look forward to seeing her blossom over her career. I don’t look forward to playing against her.”
Gehring said Demirciyan could be a 2,000-point scorer by the time she graduates.
What has Demirciyan learned about the varsity game so far?
“It’s so much more than you would imagine,” she said. “This year [is] my big year. It’s my time to learn the most, my first year on varsity. It’s where it all starts.”
• Going with the seniors
Southold went with an all-senior starting lineup against Babylon: Ale Cardi, Liz Clark, Madison Hilton, Annie Lincoln and Grace Syron. Two First Settlers, Julia Jaklevic and Kaitlin Tobin, were ill and unavailable, said Skip Gehring.
Southold’s next game will not be until Jan. 17 when it will play Bishop McGann-Mercy at Greenport High School.