It’s always going to be an interesting matchup when Southold/Greenport’s Grace Syron and Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Melina Santacroce face each other on a basketball court. The big difference Monday night, though, was Santacroce had more of a supporting cast to work with.
Santacroce put up 19 points and nine rebounds as Mercy ran away with the Suffolk County League VII opener on its home floor, 45-32.
Mercy (2-1 overall) already had two games under its belt while it was the season-opener for the young Southold team, which is in rebuilding mode.
With eight points from Santacroce, a senior forward, Mercy ran off the game’s first 14 points and surged to an 18-1 lead in the first quarter. That lead was stretched to 24 points when a layup by Gianna Santacroce, Melina’s younger sister, made it 29-5 late in the second quarter.
Syron, Southold’s sole returning starter from last season, converted a putback for Southold’s first field goal 33 seconds into the second quarter. The senior center had 10 of her team’s 12 points by halftime.
Southold looked more composed in the second half and narrowed the gap. The First Settlers closed the game on a 10-3 spurt, seven of those points coming from Syron.
At times Syron appeared to be in multiple places at once, grabbing a rebound here, making a steal there, scoring a basket at the other end of the court. She nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 21 points (making 8 of 14 field-goal attempts and 5 of 10 free throws), 10 rebounds and nine rebounds.
Adrine Demirciyan, an eighth-grade point guard, started in her varsity debut and scored eight points. The only other Southold scorer was Samantha Dunne with three points.
Mercy, meanwhile, received a good deal of production from other players aside from Melina Santacroce, who was 8-of-13 from the field and 3 of 5 from the foul line. Coach Meaghan Smith had to like what she saw as Gianna Santacroce and Caryn Nabrizny chipped in nine points apiece while Sarah Penny had five assists.
Mercy shot 41.9 percent from the field while limiting Southold to 25.0-percent shooting.
Photo caption: Southold/Greenport’s Grace Syron attempting a close-range shot despite being tightly guarded by Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Melina Santacroce. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)