Girls Basketball: Porters fall in county finals
SUFFOLK CLASS B FINAL | CENTER MORICHES 42, GREENPORT/SOUTHOLD 33
When the final buzzer sounded at Centereach High School on Tuesday afternoon, there were more tears than cheers for the Greenport/Southold girls basketball team.
The Porters played hard, but that wasn’t enough against a determined Center Moriches squad.
Their quest for a second consecutive Suffolk County Class B championship ended in disappointment after they dropped a 42-33 decision to the Red Devils.
“It was a tough one for us,” said senior guard Brienna McFarland, who scored a game-high 18 points in her final high school basketball game. “Not every game will go as you want it.”
Especially in this confrontation between two familiar foes.
The teams tussled for the third time this season, with the Red Devils winning twice. All three games followed a similar pattern. Center Moriches took a sizable early lead, forcing Greenport to play from behind. The Porters almost overcame a 20-point deficit before losing, 43-40, on Dec. 22. Despite being down by 17 points, they rallied to post a 51-45 victory on Feb. 3.
PHOTOS BY ROBERT O’ROURK
“We can’t keep getting behind so much early against a team like this,” head coach Ev Corwin said. “You can’t keep coming back from double-digit deficits. We just can’t get away with it. It doesn’t work.
“We’ve been a slow starting team the whole season. It bit us in the butt.”
The Porters (8-9) got off to an encouraging start as they trailed Center Moriches (16-5) just 10-8 after the first quarter.
The contest changed dramatically in the next period.
A combination of 8 Greenport turnovers, several on traveling calls, and cold shooting from the field (1-for-8) helped the Red Devils grab a 28-15 halftime lead after outscoring their foes 17-5 in the quarter.
“That definitely didn’t help because we were turning the ball over,” McFarland said. “We weren’t able to stop them. When they score and we don’t score, it doesn’t turn out well.”
No, it doesn’t.
“They came out strong,” said junior guard Lily Corwin, who scored 8 of her 11 points in the second half. “They are on a mission.”
PHOTOS BY ROBERT O’ROURK
McFarland almost single handedly kept Greenport in the game by scoring 10 first-half points. But coach Corwin felt the senior needed some help. Only four Porters registered points.
“Too much watching Bri,” Corwin said. “It’s combination of the opposing team, knowing they had a girl on our team [to shut down], and our players were kind of freezing a little bit early. Watching has been a problem here and there. I thought we were past that.”
“The first half, we didn’t play to our best potential,” added Lily Corwin.
Center Moriches forward Emma Morris, who missed the Feb. 3 encounter due to injury, was the difference, scoring 14 points and controlling the boards. She turned 2 offensive rebounds into baskets during Center Moriches’ 9-0 run to open the second half.
“Emma really came through for them,” Corwin said. “She was the key. She had some big shots for them.”
As talented as McFarland is, she couldn’t remain hot the entire game. It certainly didn’t help that she was battling a respiratory infection.
“She won’t give any excuses,” Corwin said. “She’s going tell you, ‘I’m fine.’”
The coach has always been impressed with McFarland’s play and grittiness.
“She’s the toughest player I’ve ever been around,” he said, “and one of the most fundamentally skilled players that I’ve seen come through Greenport/Southold.”
McFarland finished the season as co-MVP of League V.
“She’s a really good, tough throwback player you want to have on your team,” Corwin added. “There’s no doubt about it.”
In June, McFarland will graduate along with senior players Ella Luhrs, Megan Tobin and Mei Reilly. That means Corwin will have most of this year’s young squad back next season.
“The core is coming back next year,” he said. “I’m excited about the future. There’s some really good young girls who are on this team.”