This one hurt.
As far as aesthetics go, Thursday night’s Suffolk County League VI girls basketball game between Center Moriches and Greenport/Southold wasn’t much to look at. The play was sloppy, but what was much more important to the Porters was the final result.
The 43-39 home defeat really put the Porters up against a wall as far as their playoff chances are concerned. Now Greenport has no breathing room. If the Porters (5-10, 5-8) are to see the postseason, they must win their three remaining regular-season games against Hampton Bays, Pierson and Port Jefferson.
“It hurts because that was one of the wins that we were anticipating getting,” Greenport coach Skip Gehring said. “We’re not out of it yet, but it made the road a little more hard for us.”
Greenport High School has a brand new control console for its scoreboard at Richard “Dude” Manwaring Gymnasium that was christened for the game. Both teams had trouble lighting up that scoreboard as much as they would have liked, though. It was as if the affect of the polar vortex outside was being felt in the gym, with ice cold shooting. Center Moriches (2-15, 2-12), which snapped a five-game losing streak, shot 12-for-40 (30 percent) from the field and Greenport went 12-for-58 (20.7 percent), including 5-for-22 in the fourth quarter.
“There’s just sometimes games like that when you’re not really hitting,” Greenport guard Brittany Walker said. “You just have to keep shooting and hope that they drop.”
Gehring said, “And it wasn’t a matter of air balls: in and out, roll out, in and out, off the backboard.”
The nature of the loss also stung Greenport.
The Porters ran off 10 straight points (eight by Adrine Demirciyan) to pull ahead, 37-34, with 3 minutes, 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
After a foul shot by Center Moriches’ Indya Brown, Greenport had four cracks at the basket on one possession, with a putback by Demirciyan ending that sequence. A free throw by Sabrina Scuria (18 points), who sank 6 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter and 10 of 11 for the game, and an Emma Morris (10 points) layup for Center Moriches cut the Greenport lead to 39-38.
Greenport was hurt when its leading scorer, Demirciyan, fouled out with 35 seconds remaining. Scuria drained both free throws from that foul and then three more down the stretch to seal the win.
“That’s not really what hurt us,” Gehring said of Demirciyan fouling out. “What hurt us was Center Moriches, honestly, played a very, very good, disciplined game.”
Demirciyan, who entered the game averaging 15.8 points, finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.
Samantha Dunne added 13 points for the Porters.
Center Moriches prevailed despite being outrebounded, 33-23, and having six more turnovers than Greenport.
Asked about the impact the defeat has on Greenport’s playoff prospects, Walker answered, “It definitely hurts a lot. We still have three more games so we still have a shot. It just makes it a lot more difficult now.”
Dunne kept a hopeful attitude.
“There’s always that Cinderella story,” she said, “so you never know.”