Sometimes shots don’t go down and teams lose. It happens, as sure as a Lola Idir three-point shot.
Greenport/Southold’s girls basketball team lost Monday. By gosh, it’s been a while.
In fact, it was the Porters’ first loss since their season opener against William Floyd way back on Dec. 4. This 55-38 defeat in Port Jefferson snapped a nine-game win streak that had put them in first place and in contention for the Suffolk County League VII championship. Both teams had been unbeaten in league play and now Port Jefferson controls its own destiny.
Still, it’s not the end of the world for the Porters.
“I think we just got to put it behind us, you know,” sophomore guard Lilly Corwin said. “It’s one loss, not gonna tear us down.”
What had the makings on paper for a good matchup materialized into a one-sided affair. Greenport’s only lead was at 4-3.
Idir sank four three-point shots and scored 10 of her game-high 21 points — right at her average — in the third quarter for Port Jefferson (10-2, 5-0), which won its sixth straight. The junior guard can shoot from deep and hit nothing but net. She’s a difference-maker.
“It’s a dream to coach someone like that,” said Keith Buehler, who shares the Port Jefferson coaching duties with Jesse Rosen. “She took over the third quarter.”
Abigail Rolfe accounted for 12 of her 18 points during a 14-2 run that gave Port Jefferson a 30-13 lead late in the second quarter. Rolfe went 12-for-12 at the free-throw line and grabbed 14 rebounds. As a team, Port Jefferson sank 16 of 17 foul shots and outrebounded Greenport, 33-24. Annie Maier brought the Royals 10 points.
Greenport (9-2, 7-1) struggled with its shot, going 31.4% from the field.
“Some days all of them are gonna fall and some days none of them are gonna fall,” Corwin said. “They had a good shooting night and we just didn’t.”
Greenport’s all-time leading scorer, Adrine Demirciyan, who is averaging 12.4 points, had a rough shooting game. She was held to three points by halftime and finished with seven on 3-for-14 shooting, giving her 1,071 for her career. She passed Madison Tabor, now an assistant coach for the team, as the Porters’ career scoring leader earlier this season. Tabor tallied 1,036 points before graduating in 2017.
Shooting difficulties aside, Demirciyan managed a double-double, nonetheless, with 14 rebounds, 10 assists, two blocks and two steals. She leads the team with 9.5 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game.
“When she has the ball, she’s going to draw a lot of attention,” Greenport coach Chris Golden said. “So, like she gets to the basket. She still does, but what I’ve asked her to do this year is to trust your teammates more, get them the ball.”
Corwin and Brienna McFarland have both upped their scoring averages since last season and are now each good for 13 a game, taking some of the burden off Demirciyan’s shoulders. Corwin, shooting 6-for-13, scored 16 points and McFarland added seven on 4-for-14 shooting.
Whenever Greenport seemed on the verge of making a run, Port Jefferson responded. Port Jefferson found ways to the basket and found shots. The Royals stretched their lead to as many as 24 points after two Rolfe free throws and a Maier bucket off an inbounds pass from Idir made it 49-25 in the final seconds of the third quarter.
“I just think that we weren’t used to competing against such a good defense,” McFarland said. “Like, they really knew how to take away our players, our strongest parts.”
Speaking of that nine-game winning streak, Golden said: “We’ve also been on the brink. We could have easily lost a couple of those games, you know. So fortunately for us, it’s gone our way. Tonight, you know, we just ran into a really good team. They’re undefeated for a reason.”
And what about the league title?
Well, both teams seem more concerned about collecting county crowns, Class B for Greenport and Class C for Port Jefferson.
“For us the goal from day one was the Suffolk County Class B title,” Golden said. “You know, on our wall, we don’t have any girls Suffolk County Class B titles. That’s the goal. It hasn’t changed. Whether we lose to Port Jeff or to whoever, the goal is to be the last B team standing in Suffolk County, period.”