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Girls’ Basketball Shackles Smithtown West

December 7, 2010

The girls basketball team began their season in winning form, defeating Class AA Smithtown West this afternoon, 32-22, avenging a loss from a year ago.  It was a low-scoring affair for much of the game as both defenses clamped down on shaky offenses.  After one quarter our girls trailed 6-7, then mustered only 2 points in the 2nd frame as they went into halftime down 8-14.  With half the game gone our offense was sputtering and our defense was not getting the stops they needed, but the 2nd half would be a different affair altogether.

After allowing 14 points in the 1st half, our defense yielded only 8 points the rest of the way.  The offense began to click too as our girls scored 7 unanswered points to begin the half, highlighted by Brannon Burke’s 3rd 3-pointer of the game.  After the Bulls hit a free throw, Burke answered again, this time in the paint to give the Brook a 16-15 lead going into the final frame.  The defense shackled Smithtown in the quarter, allowing only 1 point over 8 minutes.

For much of the game our defense kept the game within reach while our offense struggled to find a rhythm.  The Bears had no such problem in the 4th quarter as they equaled their point total from the previous 3 quarters, outscoring Smithtown 16-7.  Those watching could not have foreseen that result; however, as the Bulls began the quarter with a 3-point play to snare a 16-18 lead.  Our girls showed resilience as they answered back with a 10-0 run that decisively grabbed the game’s momentum.  The scoring stretch began with back-to-back 3-pointers from captains Jess Winston and Burke and was punctuated by a gorgeous pass from Winston to Burke that narrowly beat the shot clock.  From there the girls never looked back as they continued to pile up stops on defense and made all the big plays on offense.  Natalie Istrati worked hard on the glass and kept several possessions alive with offensive rebounds, Winston was clutch from the foul line and as always Burke was our reliable scoring machine.

Brannon Burke scored 21 points and had 12 rebounds and three steals and Jessica Winston added 11 points to lead Stony Brook (1-0) in non-conference play.

~ Newsday


I love this team’s defense.  The offense was disjointed for a while, but they did not let that discourage them.  Their drive to keep Smithtown off the board every single time up the floor was what lead them to victory.  Winston and Danielle Pappas got out on the perimeter shooters and Burke, Istrati and Keara Vancol were towers underneath, stealing entry passes and blocking shots.  This team may not have the offensive weapons they possessed last year, but if they defend all season the way they did tonight, teams will have a difficult time outscoring them.  Emily Stone was battling the flu and saw little action today, so having her back will be a shot in the arm to the offense.  Burke (21 points/12 rebounds) and Winston (11 points) carried the load, but a 3rd reliable scorer will need to arise.  All in all, it was a promising start to the year and a great 1st win for Coach Amy Helm.

See a recap and photos of the game in the Three Village Patch


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