POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.— The No. 13-seeded Mahopac girls basketball team has been hot and cold all season long. Unfortunately, the Indians hit a low note in a 58-20 defeat at fourth-seeded Lourdes in the Section 1 Class AA opening round on Feb. 18.
“The girls played hard from the first minute to the last,” Mahopac coach Chuck Scozzafava said. “Even though they were getting beat pretty good, they never put their heads down and kept working hard.”
While Mahopac struggled to turn the ball over 19 times in the first half, the Warriors already built a 17-3 cushion by the end of the first quarter.
“I have to be honest about it,” Scozzafava said. “We were totally overmatched. [Lourdes] had it every bit from the start in raw talent. They got right on us and jumped at us on defense. They were just a better team than we were—plain and simple.”
Just nine seconds into the second quarter, Scozzafava was displeased and called timeout.
“I just told them that they need to pick up the defense and to start moving,” Scozzafava said. “To play harder and not worry about the scoreboard. I was happy with the effort the girls put forward. When we were down by 20 points, girls were still diving on the ground for the ball. I was proud of the girls.”
Amplifying the defensive effort afterward, the Indians struck when sophomore guard Zina McInerney nailed a 3-pointer off a pass from junior forward Natalie Scanlon to snip the deficit to 24-7 with 2:30 until halftime.
A technical foul on Lourdes permitted senior point guard Amanda Geyer to net the final two points of the half from the free-throw line. Mahopac was brewing up some fight, but still trailed 27-11 at the break.
The Indians only scored nine points in the second half.
“Overall our effort was good,” Scozzafava said. “We just couldn’t make shots or get the ball inside. We have struggled offensively all year and did again on Saturday.”
Junior forward Claire Felix drove hard to the right side and scored off the backboard with a minute remaining in the third, cutting the hefty disadvantage to 40-17.
Both Felix and senior forward Amanda McCarney were forced to sit after compiling three fouls in the second quarter.
The top scorer of the season Felix paced the Indians one more time with six points. Geyer, McInerney and McCarney penciled three points apiece. Samantha Colatruglio added two points.
Despite their season concluding before they planned, the Indians (10-11) were all smiles as they walked off the court one last time together. The team also went nuts when eighth-grader April Heady bucketed her first ever varsity point on a free throw.
“I really liked the team’s spirit at the end of the game,” Scozzafava said. “The team has a nice camaraderie and they look out for each other. We try to teach them to stay positive throughout and the girls did a nice job.”
Seniors Geyer, McCarney, Allison Reilly and Kim Schiera played every one of their four years on varsity under Scozzafava since his first year as head coach. Since then, the group has put together four regular seasons of at least a .500 record.
“We did the best we could with the talent we had,” Scozzafava said. “We have to move on—it’s all we can do.”