One turnover after another and Ward Melville quickly had Sachem North's number. In the first half of Thursday's game, Sachem scored 16 points and turned the ball over 17 times.
The lopsided statistics led to a 50-30 Ward Melville win in a League I game at the Dr. Jack Foley Gymnasium in East Setauket.
Sachem's Danielle Levine and Ward Melville's Caysea Cohen each scored 15 points in the contest. Sachem drops to 1-4 in league play, while the Patriots are now 3-2.
"We knew [Levine and Erin McNulty] were their two key players," said Ward Melville coach Lawrence Combs, "and we focused on that. That was the game plan. We like to create our offense off turnovers in transition."
While Levine had a good game on paper, she was locked up in defensive struggles with Vanessa Pryor and Kim Geiger throughout the game. McNulty was held to just four points.
Ward Melville went on a 9-2 run to end the first quarter with four steals on consecutive plays, putting the Patriots up 11-7.
Sachem stormed back in the second quarter and put together a 7-0 scoring stretch as time drew to a close prior to the half, only training 18-16. Levine scored five points in that run, but Sam Scarfogliero's three-point basket with five seconds left in the quarter put Ward Melville ahead, 21-16.
The Patriots outscored Sachem, 12-2, in the third and, 17-12, in the fourth and continued to dominate on the boards and at halfcourt in the turnover battle.
"We have to get tougher and play tough defense," said Sachem coach James Mellor. "People chase us all over the floor and we don’t do that to them. We let them breath."
Teams need to be at least 7-7 to make the Suffolk County playoffs. Sachem would have to finish 6-3 to clinch and with games against Sachem East, William Floyd and Pat-Med still ahead, the road doesn't get smoother.
"You can’t win games turning the ball over," Mellor said. "That’s 17 trips [in the first half] up the court where we didn’t even take a shot."1 2 3 4 F Ward Melville 11 10 12 17 50 Sachem 7 9 2 12 30
Ward Melville: Cohen (15), Murtagh (11), Scarfogliero (7), Napoli (4), Dennis (4), O'Hern (3), Gorman (2), Pryor (2), Gergor (2)
Sachem: Levine (15), Thompson (4), McNulty (4), Cosgrove (3), Foltmann (2), Menke (2)