Dennis Reilly said he couldn’t be happier.
Reilly, the Southold First Settlers girls basketball coach, had just watched his team lose to the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs, 27-17, in a Town of Brookhaven Summer League game, but there were so many things he was pleased with that the final score hardly mattered.
McGann-Mercy had built a 15-8 halftime lead before the First Settlers came back to knot the score at 15-15 early in the second half. The more experienced Monarchs then finished the game on a 12-2 run to win it.
“We had a couple of shots go in and out,” Reilly said, “but we fought hard to the end.”
Reilly was impressed by the play of senior guard Sarah Smith, sophomore forwards Nicole Busso and Melissa Rogers, sophomore guard Sidney Campbell and freshman guard Shannon Smith, Sarah’s younger sister.
“Sarah played great offensively and defensively,” Reilly said. “She made a lot of steals and made a couple of buckets. Nicole did a tremendous job on the boards and blocked some shots … and Melissa had an exceptional outside shooting game. She has been working hard this summer and it is showing.”
While the First Settlers are 0-3 this summer, Reilly, like many summer league coaches, is focusing on getting his players experience at this level.
“We want to give them court experience and see who meshes together,” he said. “We want to find out what combinations work.”
So far, he is pleased with what he has seen.
“The girls are constantly asking me when we can practice,” he said. “I love that enthusiasm. It is July and they are really into it. This has been a learning experience. I couldn’t be happier. The future looks bright.”