On the locker room wall at Ward Melville High School is a professionally crafted logo that reads, “Beat Sachem.” The message is loud and clear.
“It doesn’t say ‘beat Comsewogue,’” said Sachem East girls basketball coach Matt Brisson. “It says ‘beat Sachem.’ It’s personal. When you come to this place, they’re coming for you.”
Sachem played the aggressor Tuesday, however, in a Suffolk League I battle that had girl’s basketball circles talking all week long. Their previous game, also a Sachem win, wasn’t the same without Patriots star Casey Cohen, who was ill.
She was in the lineup against the Arrows in their latest contest, but Sachem held a stronghold on the court and stomped away with a 63-30 dominating victory at Dr. Jack Foley Gymnasium in East Setauket.
“I’m proud of my kids,” Brisson said. “They played hard.”
From the opening tip Ward Melville looked uneasy and Sachem played as crisp as it has all year. That’s saying a lot considering their 8-0 league record (10-1 overall) and strong wins over the last month.
“It was free and easy,” said Brisson. “When the ball moves well it doesn’t make a difference who scores. It gravitates to different people at different times.”
It moved right into the hands of Meagan Doherty (19 points), Katie Doherty (18 points) and Kathleen Everson (14 points), and out just as fast as they nailed shots from long range and inside the paint at-will.
“We knew we had to play as hard as we could,” said Everson, who also recorded 9 rebounds. “I think this will carry our momentum right through now that we have this big win on our back.”
While Sachem led 19-7 after the first quarter, it continued to add to its lead for the next 24 minutes. A 17-2 scoring drive in the second quarter, spurred by 7 points from Meagan Doherty, including a three-point basket, put Sachem up 36-12.
Another 10-2 run for Sachem to end the third quarter had the Arrows leading 55-20.
“We played great defense throughout the entire game and finished every shot we took,” Katie Doherty said.
As for Ward Melville (4-4 league), coach Lawrence Combs did not have many answers for the defeat.
“[Sachem] played very well defensively,” he said. “I thought we looked rattled. We started the game off flat and never recovered. We can’t dwell on it.”
With a non-conference game against Long Island Lutheran coming up next week and another rivalry game against Sachem North, not to mention a difficult playoff run as usual, Sachem East is not short on big games for the rest of 2012. This was only the beginning.
“At this point you want as many good testers as you can get,” Brisson said. “Something that tests your emotions, something that tests your adversity.”
They passed this test with flying colors; red, black & gold colors.1 2 3 4 F Sachem 17 23 15 8 63 Ward Melville 7 7 8 8 30
Sachem: M. Doherty (19), J. Doherty (18), Everson (14), Schretzman (3), S. Drake (7), A. Drake (2)
Ward Melville: Cohen (10), Murtagh (7), Pryor (5), Dennis (2), Gorman (2), O'Hern (2), Scarfogliero (2)