Yesterday evening, thanks to one of the greatest first half shooting displays Swanson Gymnasium has ever seen, the girls’ basketball team dispatched Portledge, 38-17, in their East Division opener. Due to the challenges associated with COVID-19, this was the Bears’ first time playing on their home court in 724 days, since a 56-27 PSAA quarterfinal win over Martin Luther on Feb. 10, 2020. Niamh Scanlon made the most of the homecoming by torching the Panthers for 32 points in a memorable performance.
The Bears opened the game with a defensive stand that resulted in a Portledge shot clock violation. Defense would remain a theme all game long as the Bears held Portledge to just two points in the first quarter and zero in the fourth. On the Bears’ ensuing possession, Scanlon drilled a 3-pointer to give the Brook a lead they would hold wire to wire. A Tochi Chukwuemeka steal led to another Scanlon 3-pointer and, after an Ava McCormick layup, Scanlon splashed a third straight long ball to stake the Brook to an 11-2 advantage in a blink. A Scanlon steal and layup capped the first quarter scoring as the Bears carried a 13-2 lead into the second frame.
Scanlon continued her torrid scoring pace by starting the quarter with a rebound and putback and a 3-pointer to push the lead to 18-2. Following a Myla Lombardo steal, the junior then finished a tough layup through contact to cap a 14-0 Blue & White scoring run. Scanlon’s fifth 3-pointer of the game gave the Brook a 25-9 edge before she closed the half by bombing a 30-foot pull-up from the volleyball line to send a charge through the Swanson faithful, stake the Bears to a 30-11 lead, and give her an astonishing 24 points through two quarters.
Scanlon opened the second half with a steal and score to up her total to 26 as Kristyn Dunleavy’s 39-point single-game scoring record came into view, but those would be the only points the Bears mustered in the frame as they took a 32-17 cushion into the fourth.
In the final frame, Scanlon hit consecutive 3-pointers to give her 32 for the night, but with the game well in hand she watched her teammates hold Portledge scoreless over the remainder as the Brook ended a four-game losing skid to their league rivals. Scanlon finished with a career-high eight 3-pointers as she upped her season scoring average to 25.3, good enough for 2nd place on the Long Island private school scoring list behind St. Mary’s Alisa Blalock (32.0). Ava McCormick added 6 points for the Brook.
The Bears are back in action on Monday in a rematch vs. the Panthers in Locust Valley.