Amidst all the hoopla surrounding the historic festivities of Nicole Kaczmarski having her No. 23 retired at Sachem North on Saturday, there was a Suffolk County League I rivalry game played between Sachem East and North.
On the court where Kaczmarski made history during the 1990s, Sachem North fed off the atmosphere early, making it a game for the first seven minutes, but could not manufacture much against a potent Sachem East squad, who won, 57-36.
Meagan Doherty, fresh off scoring her 1,000th career point Friday night in a win against William Floyd, led all scorers with 16 points on Saturday. Danielle Levine led Sachem North with 14 points.
Sachem North (1-3 in League I) led 10-6 with one minute left in the first quarter, but Sachem East (4-0) went on a 24-5 run throughout the next nine minutes into the second quarter and never let up.
"We played well in the beginning," said Sachem North coach James Mellor. "We kind of lived off of what the atmosphere was in the gym at that point. It’s a tough team to play. One turnover leads to four turnovers. We were in this game, then we’re down and it starts weighing on you.
"If we can play like we did for the first seven minutes for the whole game, we’ll beat every team in this league. Why not play that strong and that intense every second you’re out there?"
East led 33-17 at halftime and had help from Kathleen Everson, Emily Carmel and Doherty in a balanced attack that led North grasping for opportunities at times.
Sachem East coach Matt Brisson complimented North for hanging in during the second half and only being outscored 24-19 during the final 16 minutes of play.
"At one point I think we were up by 20, but it didn’t feel that way," he said. "It felt like we were in the mud all night long, but that’s a tribute to [North]. They were tough. They didn’t let us get anything off easily."
He was thrilled to see Kaczmarski, who he helped coach as an assistant at Sachem, receive the honor she did in front of her Sachem family.
"I’m happy the whole thing played out the way it did," said Brisson. "It made it a weird night to play a game. I’m so happy for her. It’s so cool to see that jersey hanging up there too. This gym has magic in it."1 2 3 4 F Sachem East 13 20 18 6 57 Sachem North 10 7 13 6 36
Sachem East: M. Doherty (16), Everson (11), Carmel (11), K. Doherty (9), A. Drake (5), S. Drake (3), McKeveny (2)
Sachem North: Levine (14), McNulty (12), Cosgrove (5), Thompson (3), Foltmann (2)