Lady Canes struggle through tough schedule

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The Eastport South Manor girls basketball team played just one game last week and came away with a 43-23 victory over Westhampton Beach at home on December 9.

The Lady Sharks’ man-to-man defense was too much for the Lady Hurricanes, and Amanda Brisson scored a game-high 15 points for ESM and Alex Marshall added 10 points and three rebounds. Chelsea Kull had four points, five assists and three rebounds. Kristen Polan led Westhampton Beach with seven points while Nicole Komorowski had five.

ESM head coach Steve Giacolone said he liked the way his team played against Westhampton Beach (League VI).

“I thought what we needed to do was increase our intensity and play with more of a purpose on the court and I felt we did that,” he said. “I thought we put a tremendous amount of pressure on their guards. They couldn’t get themselves into their offense and we scored off of a lot of transition baskets.”

Giacolone is hoping that his team can keep that same type of intensity going into the next couple of games.

Westhampton Beach head coach Mike Coach Polan said his team was struggling to make shots when it had the chance to.

“Their team is well coached and they really emphasize a strong man-to-man defense,” Coach Polan said of the Lady Sharks. “We’re not going to win many games scoring 23 points and I blame ESM’s tough, hard-nosed defense for that.”

ESM was home on Wednesday against Hampton Bays and will be home on Monday for a non-league game against Islip with a start time of 4 p.m.

Westhampton Beach

Coach Polan knew when he first looked at this season’s schedule that the beginning of it was going to be hard, but he probably didn’t expect it be this hard.

The Lady Hurricanes have dropped their first six games of the season with the most recent being their first league game on Friday, December 12, which they lost at Mt. Sinai 51-34. Before losing to Mt. Sinai, Westhampton Beach fell at home against Center Moriches (League VII) 74-30 on December 10 after losing to ESM. The Lady Hurricanes then lost at home to Amityville on Monday by a score of 48-37.

“I knew it was going to be a rough week with back-to-back games this early in the season,” Coach Polan said. “After the ESM game, we didn’t have much time to regroup and have time to work on things.”

In the loss to Mt. Sinai, Coach Polan said that poor decisions late in the game caused the team’s demise, but he added that he was happy with the effort of his team and he believes his girls are improving.

“I think in our league, Mt. Sinai, Miller Place, East Hampton and us are all in mini-rebuilding years,” he said. “I thought Mt. Sinai was a team we could beat but inexperience hurt us down the stretch.”

Kristen Polan led Westhampton Beach with 15 points, while Sarah Shine led Mt. Sinai with 15 points as well.

In the loss to Center Moriches, Coach Polan tried implementing a more up-tempo offense to try and get easier shots but it backfired as the Lady Hurricanes gave up 74 points including 12 three-pointers.

“They were hot,” Coach Polan said. “We started trapping in the second half, but they live and die by the three. We pretty much got buried.”

Kristen Polan led the Lady Hurricanes again with 15 points. Jessica Bandrowski scored 28 points, while Katie Connolly scored 12 points and 13 rebounds for Center Moriches.

Against Amityville, Westhampton Beach was led by Komorowski’s 11 points while Kristen Polan had 10 points. But Lady Warrior Raven Price was too much for the Lady Hurricanes as she scored 12 points and pulled down 12 rebounds.

Coach Polan was adamant when speaking to his team the past week that it doesn’t develop a loser’s attitude after losing its first five games of the season. He doesn’t want to see the girls go out to just play, he wants to see them play to win.

“It’s very easy to go out there and just play the game,” he said. “Last week we went against some brutal teams that really put the heat on us, but we have to step up or we’ll continue to lose. My thing right now is to stay positive and concentrate on one game at a time.”

Kristen Polan not only has been leading the Lady Hurricanes in scoring but is also averaging close to 10 rebounds per game along with three blocks per game.

“She’s playing well. Everyone else needs to pick up their game up a notch,” Coach Polan said. “We need some more balance. I’m hoping to play more of a trap defense to get more offense going. Everything seems to be a struggle on offense right now.”

Westhampton Beach will be at East Hampton on Thursday with a start time of 6:15 p.m. and then will be at William Floyd Monday at 7 p.m. for the team’s final non-league game of the season.

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