Girls Basketball Notebook: Young McFarland making a difference

Brienna McFarland’s rookie varsity season with the Greenport/Southold girls basketball team hasn’t always been an easy one. Then again, being a freshman and adjusting to the speed and complexities of the varsity game takes time.

“It’s been a struggle,” coach Skip Gehring said. “She’s been a little nervous. Do I take the shot? Do I take that shot? And when you go and take a shot and make a move that you got way with on JV, and all of a sudden it doesn’t quite work …”

At the same time, look at McFarland’s talent and potential. She could already be considered among the team’s top three players along with sophomore guard Adrine Demirciyan and freshman guard Skylar Mysliborski. That trio has the potential for a future in college basketball, said Gehring. All of them are learning.

McFarland, who joined her older sister Jenna on the team this season, has already shown her value to the Porters. She didn’t score in Greenport’s 43-40 upset of visiting Port Jefferson Friday night, but she did collect seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block. Her steal following an inbounds pass in the shadow of Greenport’s basket with two seconds left to play essentially sealed the victory.

“She’s giving it her all,” Demirciyan said. “For her first year on varsity, that’s all anyone could ask out of her. She plays great defense, she hustles. She’s there whenever anyone needs her. That’s all we can ask for. She works so hard.”

Senior center Isabelle Higgins said Brienna McFarland has been a “huge difference” since her addition to the team.

Asked for her impression of varsity basketball, Brienna McFarland said: “It’s really different. The tempo of the game is so much faster than JV.”

All-around improvement

Skylar Mysliborski, who endured her share of struggles last season as an eighth-grader on the varsity team, has shown the greatest improvement, said Skip Gehring. “The improvement from her is tremendous,” he said.

At the same time, Gehring has been seeing good things from others. Adrine Demirciyan is learning how to deal with being double-teamed. Isabelle Higgins is averaging double-digit rebounds (“When you’re as small as we are, that becomes big,” said Gehring). Kaitlin Tobin has beeen an asset defensively, averaging more than five steals per game.

Gehring said every one of his players has contributed in one form or another. “We’ve got a lot of young talent,” he said. “They’re good ballplayers. They just need more time.”