Garnets edge Tigers

Madeline Eck pushes the ball up the floor following a Tiger turnover on Jan. 25. The Garnets have relied on transition buckets all season long.

Madeline Eck pushes the ball up the floor following a Tiger turnover on Jan. 25. The Garnets have relied on transition buckets all season long.

By MIKE SMITH
The Rye Garnets might be headed for a high postseason berth, but they didn’t escape last week’s contests without a scare as a game Mamaroneck Tigers squad battled back from an early Rye lead to push the Garnets to the limit on Jan. 25.

Though the Garnets came away with a 46-43 win, the game still served as a reminder that the Garnets will need to stay sharp if they hope to continue their winning ways in the playoffs.

In the early goings of the contest, it seemed as though Rye’s up-tempo style would be too tough for the Tigers to figure out as the Garnets converted turnovers into fast break points to jump out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter. But Class AA Mamaroneck was able to right the ship in the second, cutting down on mistakes and slowly grinding away at Rye’s lead.

“My message to the girls was basically just to make it one possession at a time,” Mamaroneck coach David Smith said. “We’re not looking at the bigger picture, just getting the stop, winning the defensive transition and taking advantage, and we were able to do that in the second quarter.”

Laura Ann Pacos drives to the hole against Mamaroneck.

Laura Ann Pacos drives to the hole against Mamaroneck.

It would take a stellar defensive effort in the second half–which saw the Garnets surrender just 18-points‑for Rye to reclaim control of the game.

“We were a little disappointed at halftime with how many points we’d given up,” Rye coach Dennis Hurlie said. “We came out and played better; getting those stops, making those deflections. It’s the same old story, our shots weren’t falling but we played well enough defensively to win.”

Defense has been the Garnets’ (11-3) calling card this year as the high-energy Rye squad has been quite effective at forcing opponents to make mistakes. As the sectional playoffs loom in two weeks, Hurlie said the team’s unwavering effort on the defensive side of the ball could be key in making a deep postseason run.

“It gives us confidence and our defense is something our players take a lot of pride in,” Hurlie said. “If we’re executing on offense, then we can be a very dangerous team.”

Alanna Morque plays some defense against Mamaroneck on Jan. 25. The Garnets defensive effort in the second half sealed the deal for Rye’s 11th win of the season.

Alanna Morque plays some defense against Mamaroneck on Jan. 25. The Garnets defensive effort in the second half sealed the deal for Rye’s 11th win of the season.

The Garnets have a few tough matchups before sectionals start, as they will take on talented teams from Rye Country Day and Westlake as well as Section I power Ossining and a tough Section IX foe in Newburgh over the next two weeks.

Rye’s Rachel Egan does her best to contain Tiger guard Jess Degina in the second quarter of the Garnets’ tilt with Mamaroneck on Jan. 25. Rye now sits at 11-3 with just four games left to play. Photos/Mike Smith

Rye’s Rachel Egan does her best to contain Tiger guard Jess Degina in the second quarter of the Garnets’ tilt with Mamaroneck on Jan. 25. Rye now sits at 11-3 with just four games left to play. Photos/Mike Smith

“These are four good teams,” Hurlie said. “If we can win three of these games, we’ve got a good shot for a top-four seed, which gives us two home games in the playoffs. But that’s something for the coaches to worry about. We just want the players to keep doing what they’ve been doing.”

Contact: sports@hometwn.com

 
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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.