NORTH SALEM, N.Y.— North Salem girls varsity basketball coach Eric Buzzetto knew what his Tigers were up against as they hosted Woodlands and sophomore sensation Teisha Hyman.
He tried to tell his young team that she was just another high school sophomore, but when there are recruiters from schools such as Syracuse University in the stands at North Salem, you know you are facing a talented player.
Hyman was relentless all game right to the final second as she nailed a three-point shot at the buzzer to end the game. She finished with 38 points as Woodlands cruised to a 77-43 victory on Dec. 14.
Despite the final score, Buzzetto was impressed the way his Tigers responded in the second half.
“Hyman is a world-class player and Woodlands just outplayed us,” Buzzetto said. “The good players are going to get their points and get everybody else involved. We maybe got a little shell-shocked. I told them she’s a high school kid just like you, and when they realized that, we started doing some nice things in the second half and I thought we played pretty well in the fourth quarter. I was very proud how we ended the game today.”
Hyman scored 21 points in the first half as Woodlands opened up a 35-19 halftime lead. When she wasn’t scoring, Hyman was feeding teammate Jasmine Michavy inside as she scored 21 points in the second half and finished with 29 points overall as the dynamic duo finished with 67 of the team’s 77 points.
North Salem started off the second half with a steal by Grace Curran and a basket by Maggie Boardman to cut the lead to 14 points, but that was as close as the Tigers would come. Woodlands scored the next six points to start to pull away.
The two teams traded baskets as Elizabeth Squire, Julia DeSanto and Catrina Cantarella scored for the Tigers to make it 45-27, but Michavy scored nine straight points for the Falcons as they increased the lead to 54-27 and never looked back.
In the fourth quarter, Hyman scored 13 points and Michavy had eight as the Falcons finished strong.
North Salem, however, kept answering back led by Curran, Squire and DeSanto. Squire had the hot-shooting hand for the Tigers as she finished with 15 points to lead the team. DeSanto scored seven points in the second half and finished with nine points overall. Curran finished with six points, but she was busy controlling the ball, driving to the hoop and dishing it off to her teammates.
“Grace is a tremendous athlete. She works so hard to get into the lane, and when she does that I tell the others you have to find your spots so she can get you the ball,” Buzzetto said. “We kind of got caught watching her for a bit. Then in the second half we started to make the plays. Squire is only a freshman; she started to make her shots and her confidence came back. She’s really shooting the ball well. DeSanto is another freshman; she found her rhythm and really came on strong.”
The Tigers had to find some answers in the second half as guard Kara Rollins left the game in the first half and did not return.
Buzzetto liked the way the team responded with Rollins out as some of the Tigers came in to give the team a spark.
“We had to rely on some other kids today,” Buzzetto said. “Shayna Cuascut did a great job boxing out like crazy and driving to the hole. She makes every second count on the court. Cantarella was banging and getting boards.”
With the loss, North Salem fell to 3-3 overall on the season, but Buzzetto hopes the strong finish will carry over to the Tigers’ next game as they host Hastings on Wednesday, Dec. 21, for their final game before the holiday break.
“Ending on a good note will take us into our game next week,” Buzzetto said. “Now, we’re .500. Our goal is to win more games than we did last year [five] and we’re well on our way.”