MAHOPAC, N.Y.— The Mahopac girls basketball team defeated Carmel 41-26 on the road Jan. 4 and looked to have the same success Friday evening, this time on its home floor.
Despite troubles on offense in the first half, the Indians’ defense held the Rams in check until the offense came alive in the second half, pulling away with a 47-28 victory on Jan. 20.
At the beginning of the season, Mahopac coach Chuck Scozzafava wanted his team to hold the opposition below 40 points. With Friday’s win, his team improved to 5-0 in those contests.
“It’s definitely a goal of ours every game,” he said. “We struggled in the first half, but the girls continued to push and wear the other team down with the press.”
The defensive pressure Scozzafava was referring to held Carmel to just nine points in the first half. It had to be strong with the Indians struggling to put points on the board themselves, shooting 4 for 24 from the field against Carmel’s zone defense.
One bright spot was the play of Claire Felix. The junior forward, who led the team in scoring the first time the two teams played, scored eight points from inside the paint as the Indians led 16-9.
“If shots aren’t going in, you have to do whatever you can do,” Felix said. “I just stuck to my moves I needed to make that I practiced all summer on.”
The third quarter began with Mahopac beginning to find the touch from the outside, scoring as many points as it did in the entire first half. Senior guard Amanda Geyer connected on three of them while Felix was good on the other to put the game out of reach.
“We expected them to come out with a 3-2 (zone) instead of a 2-3,” Scozzafava said. “It opened up the middle and allowed us to move the ball to Amanda, who’s key for us on the outside. When she hit shots, they came out, then we got more shots inside.”
Geyer scored all 14 of her points in the second half while Felix led the team once again against the Rams with 16 points.
Khadijah Johnson had 10 points while Alex Barry added nine for Carmel in the losing effort.
The win moved Mahopac over .500 to 7-6 overall and 4-1 in conference play.
The first half may have been attributed to the eight-day layoff between games for the Indians. The other is the team finally finding continuity on the court after some players being out due to injury or illness. Still, Mahopac has now won four out of its last five games.
“A lot of players have been battling sickness. We just got three key players back, so we’re still trying to get things back together,” Felix said.