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On This Day In History | 1997

February 4, 2015
The Bears | Fischer (1st row, 2nd from right)

The Bears | Fischer (1st row, 2nd from right)

On this day 18 years ago, the girls’ basketball topped Mattituck, 49-36, to stay in the hunt for the program’s first League Championship. Rebecca Fischer led the way with 22 points while Sara Kiernan dropped in 10. Here is the recap from Gregg Sarra of Newsday.

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Fischer Lifts Stony Brook

Keith Singer never thought turning around the Stony Brook girls basketball program would be an easy task. How could he? The Bears had won a total of five games in the three years before his arrival. Five wins in 44 games.

And his first season? How about 0-15.

Singer is in his eighth year and the Bears have a different look – a winning one.

Sophomore Rebecca Fischer scored 22 points and added 11 rebounds as the Bears halted Mattituck’s five-game winning streak and posted a 49-36 victory in yesterday’s Division IV game at Mattituck.

Stony Brook improved to 11-4 and 7-2 in the division. Mattituck is 7-8 and 6-3.

“We needed to build a foundation and incorporate our system and I felt the winning would eventually take care of itself,” Singer said. “How long that would take was another question. Having my wife {Karen} coach the JV has been one of the keys to our success. The other was the girls now play in the offseason.”

The Bears have arrived. Eight years after Singer endured a winless season, he has them on the winning track for the second straight season. And how fitting that the Bears’ rise is simultaneous with the addition of Fischer, a 6-1 center who enrolled at the school last season as a freshman by way of Midlothian, Va.

“My three brothers played and graduated from this school and they loved it,” Fischer said. “I couldn’t wait to get here. I planned on playing here since the third grade.”

Fischer’s parents, Tom and Joann, grew up in Central Islip before moving to Virginia to take teaching jobs.

“It’s a great experience at Stony Brook and I’ve learned to be independent,” said Fischer, who lives in a dorm at the private school. “And the basketball experience has been great.”

Fischer has had an immediate impact on the Bears’ fortunes. Stony Brook hadn’t had a winning season since 1982-83 and although Singer had the Bears improving steadily over the past four seasons, Fischer’s arrival quickened the pace.

Stony Brook, seeded 11th in Conference IV last season, went 14-5 and made the Class C playoffs for the first time in 14 years. The Bears lost by nine to Eastport in the first round. “It was a taste of what was to come,” Singer said. “Rebecca and Sara {Kiernan} have elevated the play of those around them.”

Kiernan, who added 10 points and 11 rebounds, gives the Bears an outside presence to take the pressure off of Fischer inside.

“Teams have to respect both of them,” Singer said. “The exciting thought is that they’re both sophomores.”

Fischer, who averaged 15.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game last season, is having another stellar season. She currently is averaging 19.4 points and 11.0 rebounds.

For Mattituck, the loss was its first since falling to Stony Brook, 57-45, on Jan. 15. “We didn’t create movement on offense and our initial passes weren’t good,” coach Andy Bacon said. “They played good man-to-man defense and we had too many unforced errors. We tried to contain Fischer with the zone, but she scored her points.”

Fischer also is unselfish. When the Tuckers’ defense collapsed around her, she found the open shooter, enough for six assists. “We’re working well together and winning,” Fischer said. “But some of the games have been too close and they’ve been stressful.”

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The girls would go on to win the program’s first League Title, beginning a reign of dominance for the Bears. Over the next 15 years they would win 11 more titles, cementing their place as one of Long Island’s premier programs.

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