By Rob Potter
WEST POINT March 8, 2002 In the first quarter of play in Tuesday nights Class D state quarterfinal game, things were looking very good for the
Roscoe Lady Blue Devils.
Less than two minutes had elapsed on the clock when Cheyenne Smith converted a layup to give Roscoe (19-4) a 2-0 lead over the Section XI champion Southold Settlers. Thirty seconds later, Smith stole the ball near the Southold basket and raced downcourt to score another layup.
Ten seconds after that, teammate Kelly Ahart made a steal and scored a basket to give the Lady Blue Devils a 6-0 lead with 5:32 left in the opening period. Over the next minute, Rose Miesner added a pair of free throws and Staci Fersch hit a jump shot to boost the Roscoe advantage to 10-0.
At the end of the first period, Roscoe, the fifth-ranked Class D team in the state, had momentum and a comfortable 18-5 lead over Southold, the eleventh-ranked Class D team in the state.
But those 18 first quarter points turned out to be more than the Lady Blue Devils would score during the rest of the contest. As a result, Southold (17-5) came back to record a 37-32 victory and move on in the state tournament.
After the Settlers closed the gap to 27-20 at halftime, Roscoe went ice cold in the third quarter.
The Lady Blue Devils missed all 12 shots they put up in those eight minutes as the basket seemed to have an invisible seal over it to prevent the ball from dropping through the net. Roscoe was unable to convert shots from inside the paint and long-range jump shots. The team was even 0-for-2 at the foul line in the period.
We just couldnt buy a basket, Roscoe Coach Becky Ahart said. We had good looks at the basket, but our shots didnt fall and theirs did.
While the Southold offense wasnt exactly on fire in the third quarter, the Settlers managed to score six points in those eight minutes. That meant that Roscoe held only a one-point (27-26) lead heading into the final quarter.
Just over two minutes into the fourth period, Southolds Elaine Thompson hit a six-foot jump shot to give the Settlers their first lead of the game, 28-27.
With 1:45 left in the game, Miesner scored inside to tie the contest at 32-32. But 15 seconds later Betsey Van Bourgondien scored to put the Settlers up by two points.
After Roscoe turned the ball over and then began fouling the Southold players in an effort to conserve time and get the ball back, Van Bourgondien made one of two foul shots to give Southold a 35-32 lead with 15.8 seconds left in the game.
Lady Blue Devil senior guard Kelly Ahart launched a potential game-tying three-point shot with 5.3 three seconds left. But the ball hit the rim and bounced over the backboard, giving possession back to Southold.
Two seconds later, Van Bourgondien swished a pair of free throws to seal the victory for the Settlers.
Southold Coach Pete Salerno noted that the 18 points Roscoe scored in the opening quarter was the most any team had put up in a quarter against his team all season. He praised his players for coming back the way they did.
I think in the second quarter we started to realize that they werent unbeatable, he said. That second quarter was huge because we were able to cut the lead from 13 down to six points at the half.
Leading the Southold comeback was Van Bourgondien. She scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the second half. (She was also the only Southold player to shoot foul shots in the game and she made the most of the opportunity, converting six of seven free throws.)
Salerno noted that defense and rebounding were also key factors for his teams victory.
We played good defense and did a great job on the boards tonight, he commented. And the team never quit.
After the game, Becky Ahart and the Lady Blue Devils were left to ponder that scoreless third quarter.
Its always the third quarter that gets us and I dont know why, senior forward Staci Fersch said. In the third quarter our shots just didnt fall. For some reason we dont play well as a team in the third quarter. Maybe we were trying too hard because we really wanted to win this game and thats what makes this so disappointing.
Miesner led all Roscoe scorers with nine points. Smith and Kelly Ahart each added seven points for the Lady Blue Devils.
Southold played very well, Becky Ahart said. They have a nice ball club.
Ahart, who has been coaching Roscoe girls varsity basketball teams since 1987, added that it was a tough loss.
Overall, she was very pleased with the 2001-2002 season.
It was an excellent season, Becky Ahart said. We were undefeated Division V champions and won the Section IX title for the second time in three years.
She noted in particular the contibutions of the five Lady Blue Devil seniors Kelly Ahart, Amy Argent, Jenna Bowers, Staci Fersch and Jessica Lake.
These seniors have had a heck of a run, Becky Ahart commented. They won two sectional titles in basketball and two sectional titles in soccer. They won a regional soccer title and went to the state (soccer) final four. These five seniors were important parts of those teams in both sports, so theyve done very well.