On this day six years ago, the girls’ basketball team won a seventh County Championship in eight years. Here are two recaps of the game.
Stony Brook Girls Clang in Warm-Ups, Then Click in Class C Title Game
Stephen Haynes — Newsday
Stony Brook couldn’t buy a basket — jumpers clanging off the back rim and easy layups falling short. There were enough bricks to turn the Center Moriches gym into a construction site.
But we’re talking about warm-ups, not the game.
“That actually happens to us a lot,” freshman Ariana Odom said. “But we haven’t let it psych us out. Warm-ups and games are completely different.”
Apparently, they were just getting warmed up. When the shots mattered, they fell, as Odom and Keara Vancol each scored 15 points to lead the Bears in a 56-39 win over defending champion Southold on Friday to capture the Suffolk Class C girls’ basketball title.
“I think some of it was nerves,” said Vancol, who also had 14 rebounds. “Once the ball got tipped, we got focused. We wanted to wear these [championship] t-shirts.”
Top-seeded Stony Brook led from start to finish, and Mikaela Stiklickas’ jumper had them up 49-28 with 6:41 remaining.
“I don’t know what happens, but when it’s game time, we know how to put ’em in,” said Madison Rylands, who scored 13 points, including three three-pointers. “I think the competition makes us thrive.”
See, all it took was the distraction of screaming fans, defenders’ hands in their faces, and the pressure of a championship game.
Rylands scored eight points in the second quarter as the Bears (13-4) took control, and they pulled away with a 21-8 third quarter, sparked by Odom’s nine points.
Ali Rothaar had eight points for the Bears, who will face the “B” champ in the Suffolk B/C game Feb. 22.
The teams split two regular-season games, with the Settlers giving Stony Brook its only loss in League VIII.
The Bears use a four-guard lineup, anchored by the six-foot Vancol at center, and they created mismatches with the 5-11 Odom playing point guard. Vancol’s eight first half points helped draw the defense inside and open the perimeter, and Odom scored 12 after intermission. She also had seven assists.
“We know if they collapse on anyone, we can just pass it around,” Odom said. “We’re confident someone’s going to knock it down.”
Only when it counts.
Stony Brook’s Back on Top, at Southold’s Expense
Bob Liepa – The Suffolk Times
Along with a bold fashion statement came an even bolder statement about the state of girls’ basketball at The Stony Brook School.
For the second game in a row, Stony Brook walked onto a basketball court Friday wearing green socks. Actually, make that bright neon green socks. Neon green, by the way, is not part of the school’s blue and white color scheme.
Madison Rylands, a senior guard, said that in order to try something different, the team picked out the neon green socks, “the most obnoxious [color] we could find.”
It is believed the socks brought the Bears good luck in their final regular season game, a win over Pierson/Bridgehampton, so there they were again, wearing those same socks for the Suffolk County Class C final against Southold on Friday. Even the team’s three coaches, including the head coach, Steve Harney, wore them.
“It worked last time,” explained Rylands.
And it did work again. Top-seeded Stony Brook not only brought its record to 2-0 when playing in the green socks but, bouncing back from a four-win season in 2011-12, collected its seventh County Championship in eight years and eighth overall with a 56-39 defeat of last season’s Long Island Champion, Southold. It’s the second title of the season for the League VIII champion Bears (12-4).
“It’s great,” Rylands said after the game at Center Moriches High School. “The dynasty has been returned.”
Stony Brook triumphed in convincing fashion. Southold (10-7), the No. 3 seed, trailed by eight points at halftime, but then Stony Brook blew the game open in the third quarter, when it really turned things on. The Bears finished the third quarter on a 21-6 run — while shooting 8-for-12 from the floor — for a 47-26 lead. Ariana Odom scored nine points during that spurt.
Meanwhile, Southold struggled through 8-for-31 shooting in the second half.
“They shot out of their minds,” Southold coach Joe Read said of the Bears. “They had to be shooting 60, 70 percent. We were missing underneath shots that we normally don’t miss.”
Odom (14 points, 9 rebounds), Rylands (13 points, 9 rebounds), and Keara Vancol (13 points) led the way for Stony Brook, which also received 7 assists from Allie Damianos.
The field goal shooting was in Stony Brook’s favor, with the Bears connecting on 42 percent (21-of-50) of their shots. Southold shot 27.6 percent (16-of-58).
The foul count went against Southold, too, 15-6.
“We were completely ready for this game,” Rylands said. “We knew exactly what to do, and we did it. We were very prepared for this team. We know this team. We know every player by number and by name, so we know exactly what they’re going to do.”
Vancol said unity helped Stony Brook this season. Because Stony Brook is a boarding school, the players live together 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Another motivating factor was seeing its string of six straight county titles broken last year. The Bears resolved to do something about that.
“It was difficult,” Vancol said, “but at the same time, I knew that this year is the year that we could do it.”
Stony Brook is among the select few teams still alive in Suffolk. The Bears will next play in a Suffolk Class B/C game against Southampton or Center Moriches on Feb. 22.
Southold’s Nicole Busso gave the Bears credit. “They brought it,” she said. “They had heart. They wanted it, and they came at us. They wanted that title back, and they got it.”
Now, green socks and all, the Bears are back on top of the Suffolk Class C world.