By Benito Vila
Consistency. It’s a word many coaches use much the same way TV hucksters use “not available in stores.” It’s a phrase meant to get your attention.
And with good reason: consistency, in any sport, is a way of describing those habits that create success. Coaches know that winning comes from doing the routine well, so well that the extraordinary becomes possible.
In basketball, consistency is being in position to break a press, find an open teammate and get a good shot. It’s dribbling with your head up, anticipating pressure but not reacting to it.
It’s all the countless details needed to be in the right place for a rebound. It’s what’s worked on in practice: the things to master as an individual and as a team to win, consistently.
Sometimes things fall apart though as they did for the Pierson Lady Whalers in Southold last Friday, their first league road game ending with a long ride home. The Lady Settlers successfully defended their home court, breaking open a close game in the second half to win 61-41.
The Lady Whalers, now 1-1 in League VIII and 1-4 overall, stayed close at the start, trailing 11-9 after the first quarter and 28-22 at the half. The third quarter saw Pierson fall further back, 49-32, and Southold go on to add three points to its margin in the fourth.
Pierson girls’ varsity coach Dennis Case is using the game and its outcome as a place to improve from going forward. “Offensively, we did OK. The real problem was our defense. We did not play well on the defensive boards and were slow to adjust with our man-to-man defense.”
“As well as we played defensively against Shelter Island [a 46-34 win at home, December 15], the opposite was the case against Southold. They had too many easy layups. We were slow to react even when we played our 1-2-2 zone. We lost our focus.”
Looking at the solution, Coach Case added, “We’re going to get back in the gym, and work on boxing out and rebounding. We will also tighten up our defense and key on our zone. It’s all about consistency, consistency, consistency.”
With nary a senior on the team, junior co-captains Samantha James and Sarah Barrett have stepped up on the court, James leading the Lady Whalers Friday with 17 points and Barrett bringing home 15. Classmates Kaci Koehne and Amanda Busiello added five points and two points respectively, with sophomore Sariah Cafiero firing in the team’s other basket.
This week, the Pierson girls go to Bay Shore on Wednesday morning to meet an accomplished League II program. The team is back to League VIII play Tuesday, January 5, hosting Ross at 6:15 p.m.
A Simple Difference
The Lady Whaler JV saw their Lady Settler counterparts take control in their contest Friday, the scoreboard revealing a one-sided 46-14 result at the final buzzer.
Pierson girls’ JV coach Kevin Barron described the difference between the team being “turnovers and rebounds. The pressure by Southold caused us to throw the ball away and give them easy fast break points. They also dominated us on the boards allowing them to have easy points off of offensive rebounds.”
“However, I was very happy with the team’s attitude during the game. They played their hardest and gave 100% until the very end. [Eighth graders] May Evjen and Sol Varela played extremely well off the bench showing their aggressiveness taking the ball to the ball to the basket.
The JV takes the court again on Wednesday in Bay Shore.