The Eastport South Manor girls basketball team, which moved up to League IV this season, suffered a 68-40 home loss to Half Hollow Hills West in the league opener on Tuesday night. The Lady Sharks are now 0-1 in League IV, 3-5 overall.
ESM was outscored 21-6 in the first quarter and could not recover. Alex Marshall led the team with 12 points while Laura Diehl finished with 10 points.
To get ready for the move to a new league, ESM head coach Steve Giacolone scheduled a number of different tournaments and non-league games against teams such as Hampton Bays (2007 League VII champs), Brentwood (League I, 6-2 overall) and Center Moriches (League VII, 6-1 overall). Then over the holiday break, the Lady Sharks (3-4 overall) participated in the 2008 Coaches vs. Cancer Sayville Holiday Tournament at Sayville High School. After defeating Miller Place 58-46 in the opening round of the tourney on December 29, ESM fell to Sayville 47-40 on December 30.
In the loss to Sayville, Giacolone explained that his team had a hard time dealing with the defensive pressure of the Lady Golden Flashes.
“Early in the game, we made some ill-advised passes, we got trapped and turned the ball over and they got some quick baskets out of that,” he said. “We couldn’t really get anything going offensively because we couldn’t get through their press.”
It showed, with ESM falling behind 29-15 at halftime. After a few adjustments in the locker room, the Lady Sharks started the second half with a 9-1 run and outscored Sayville in the third quarter 13-5. After a solid quarter of play, both teams went back and forth but it was the Lady Golden Flashes coming out on top with Jessica DePompeo going 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to help her team pull out the victory. DePompeo finished the game with 17 points, six rebounds, six steals and four assists. Amanda Brisson led ESM with 18 points while Marshall, one of the leading scorers for the Lady Sharks, only scored three points.
“She didn’t shoot the ball well which makes it difficult for us,” Giacolone said of Marshall. “Sayville was all over her. She’s going to have deal with that the during the season with her being one of our leading scorers.”
Marshall did have a strong game in the win against Miller Place with a game-high 21 points. ESM pulled through with the win in the third quarter, holding Miller Place to just five points while scoring 15 of its own. After a seesaw matchup in the first half of the game, Giacolone changed a few elements and it worked.
“Offensively we tried working the ball more inside with the high/low offense,” he said after the game. “Defensively, we played more man. We weren’t switching up as much. We were just trying to put as much pressure on the ball, step it up in our man defense and then push the ball up the court.”
Giacolone added that he thought the girls started the game a little sloppy because they were coming off an off-day which makes it tougher for the team to get into its routine and back into the swing of things.
ESM will play Deer Park on Friday at home with a 5 p.m. start time and then will be home to face Riverhead on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.
The Sharks had a quiet holiday break and didn’t play a game until Saturday, which they lost in East Islip 56-53.
The Redmen were led by Cameron Cullen’s 29 points. His brother Connor chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds in the victory.
ESM head coach Chris Carlson said his team didn’t do a good enough job on defense in the first quarter allowing 21 points in the opening frame.
“They’re a very good team that sets a lot of screens,” he said of East Islip. “We didn’t do a good job communicating.”
The Sharks (2-4 overall) made a strong comeback in the second half especially in the fourth quarter outscoring the Redmen 24-11 but the poor first half proved to be too much.
“Offensively we were stagnant going into the fourth quarter,” he said. “Right now our goal is to put 32 minutes of basketball together.”
ESM played its first ever League IV game Tuesday at Half Hollow Hills West. Coverage of the game will be included in next week’s edition. The Sharks will return home on Friday night for Senior Night to play Deer Park at 7:15 p.m. and then will be at Riverhead Tuesday with a start time of 5:45 p.m.