January 17, 2007
Lady Baymen Playoff Bound
Last season, the Hampton Bays girls' basketball team not only qualified for the postseason, but also won a playoff game as it continued to make strides despite fielding one of the youngest starting five in Suffolk.
So it's no surprise to see Dave Goodman's team right back in the fold as the Lady Baymen, off to a fantastic start, once again appear to be strong candidates for a second straight playoff appearance.
"Since the New Year rolled in, we've gotten into four straight battles with some very good teams and it's nice to come out on top for a change," said Goodman shortly after Hampton Bays defeated Center Moriches 44-30 on Saturday to improve to 4-1 in League VII.
"We came out and we weren't in the right mental frame," Goodman said. "We were throwing the ball away and suddenly, I see that there's 1:50 left in the first quarter and we haven't scored yet."
Hampton Bays finally made a basket to cut Center Moriches lead to 5-2 before taking a 6-5 lead to end the opening quarter.
The second quarter saw Hampton Bays once again challenged by the young Red Devils starting five, although the defensive stops that the Lady Baymen executed gave them an 18-11 lead at the half.
A perfectly planned out full court trap by Hampton Bays, coupled with heavy, intense defensive pressure in the fourth quarter opened up the game as the Baymen outscored Center Moriches 19-8 over the final 11 minutes.
But perhaps the biggest factor in Hampton Bays' win over the Red Devils (1-4) was the spectacular free throw shooting of Genna Kovar and Sami Krantz. Kovar was 14-of-15 from the foul line and Krantz made eight of her nine shots from the charity stripe.
"I was extremely pleased at the way we shot from the line," said Goodman whose team is currently shooting 60 percent from the line this season with Kovar the team leader making an incredible 78 percent of her attempts. "We practice [free throws] a lot in practice and I couldn't believe to see the two of them shoot like that from the line. That was the key."
The Baymen also recorded a big win against Port Jefferson on January 9, dethroning the Lady Royals 45-40 in overtime. In that game, Krantz, who was forced to sit out much of the game due to foul trouble, scored four of the Lady Baymen's six overtime points.
Kovar's pinpoint pass to center Marian Leeman was converted into the eventual game-winning basket on the opening possession of the overtime and if it weren't for Kovar's superb defensive play late in the fourth, Hampton Bays wouldn't have made it to the overtime.
Kovar's steal at half court with 20 second remaining in the fourth quarter and the Baymen trailing 39-37 was a welcomed play, especially after she converted her steal into a lay-up to tie the game at 39-39 with 15 seconds left.
Kovar had a brilliant game, nearly posting an ultra-rare "quadruple double." She scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, handed out eight assists and also made eight steals. Leeman was another major factor for Hampton Bays, scoring 12 points and pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds.
"Port Jeff has some unbelievably huge players up front and we came out with a lot of pressure to start the game because we knew that the only area that they were a little suspect in was in their ball-handling," remarked Goodman.
Hampton Bays was up by 8 at halftime, 22-14 before the Royals switched to a man defense to start the second half and began to block a multitude of the Baymen's shots. "We just couldn't get our shot off and we had to change to a spread offense," Goodman said. Port Jeff outscored Hampton Bays 12-4 in the third quarter and took the lead at several times in the fourth only to see Jamie Small make a big three-pointer that cut the Royals lead to 39-37 with 22 seconds remaining.
"I told them to play hard man-to-man defense and to get a steal," said Goodman. "And then Genna picks the girl clean and makes the lay-up. That was a really big win for us, because Port Jeff is highly rated and they have some potential Division I college players. It was huge for us."
Hampton Bays plays several important games this week that included a visit from first place Wyandanch (4-0) yesterday (Jan 16) along with a road game at Southold/Greenport (4-1) on Friday.
"If we're able to get a win against Wyandanch or Southold/Greenport, we have a very good chance" at getting a good seed in the playoffs and challenging for the league title, said Goodman. "If we lose both games, we need to make sure we get the seven wins required to make the playoffs. It's a big swing with those two games."