YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y.— Trailing by six points at halftime, the Somers girls basketball team pulled together to avoid two straight losses by defeating Nanuet 43-39 in the consolation game of the 20th annual George Budries Basketball Tournament on Jan. 16.
“The key for pulling out the win was our ability to adjust after being down in the first half,” senior captain Faith Anne Ferguson said. “We were struggling on offense, but when we came out of the half we were able to find the holes in their defense and we were able to exploit them. We also buckled down on defense and tried to keep their feet out of the paint.”
The Tuskers, who trailed 24-18 at halftime, were sparked by Ferguson in the second half. She finished with nine points and 12 rebounds to earn all-tournament honors.
“I was successful because I knew that collectively we were struggling, but I knew we could turn it around if something went right,” Ferguson said. “So once our defense came together a little and our sets were getting us good looks, we had better energy on and off the court and I fed off of the excitement.”
Sophomore Hannah Angelini said that coach Marc Hattem made a key halftime adjustment, which spurred them to the win.
“We struggled a lot in the first half against Nanuet and couldn’t find an offensive groove,” Angelini said. “[Zoe Amalbert] was hurting us on the perimeter so coach made a good call at halftime to switch to man [defense] and slow down their momentum. We also looked to feed Faith Anne in the post because we had a height advantage over them. She did a great job. We knew we needed to stay positive and focused and play our defensive game and the offense would come.”
Freshman Danielle DiCintio scored all 11 of her points in the second half.
Angelini led Somers with 24 points in a 53-41 loss to a towering Mount Vernon team in the opening round on Jan. 14. The Tuskers found themselves facing a substantial 37-21 deficit at the break.
“We didn’t play our best and they were really big,” Angelini said. “We got killed on the boards and turned the ball over a lot. We learned that we need to slow the tempo down and be confident with the ball because we all have the ability to play against pressure. We can’t play frantic. Our defense has been so good lately. We’ve been holding teams to 30 something points every game and they scored 37 points in the first half. They shot the ball well and we didn’t. We have to learn how to start strong from the tip and play like it’s our last [game] until the final buzzer.”
The sophomore scored 16 of her 24 points in the first half. A humble Angelini credited her coach and teammates for helping her get open looks.
“My teammates found me in the right spots at the right time,” Angelini said. “It helps playing on a team that has so much talent because it makes us so hard to guard. Everyone has the ability to score. We are all a threat on the court so when one of us is on, it opens up the floor for everyone else. I have complete trust in my teammates that when they get the ball they will make something good happen. It also always helps to know that my coach and teammates have the trust in me to score the ball.”
A Liv Lipski 3-pointer cut Mount Vernon’s lead to 37-25 midway through the third quarter. Danielle Cucchiarella’s bucket trimmed their lead to 42-28 after three quarters. The Knights were able to regroup, however, as Somers was unable to get much closer in the fourth.
Kali Palmer burned Somers with the deep ball, netting 12 points on four 3-pointers. Curstyn Moore added 15 points.
Junior Jackie Penzo added six points for Somers (9-5) in the loss.
Somers cruised past visiting John Jay-Cross River 63-34 in a league game on Jan. 9. Angelini led the way with 18 points, while both Lipski and DiCintio added 11 points.
The Tuskers have two more league games this week as they traveled to Brewster on Jan. 18 and head to Walter Panas for a 6 p.m. game on Jan. 20.