With both McGann-Mercy and Southold/Greenport already in the playoffs, Friday night’s game was expected to be a close battle.
It lived up to expectations.
Southold (7-3, league VIII) emerged victorious 39-35 playing at McGann-Mercy High School in a game in which neither team could establish a commanding lead.
“It was a game of defense,” Clippers head coach Howie Geismar said. “Both of us couldn’t really get any offense going.”
Last time these two teams matched up on Jan 21, Mercy won a nail-biter 49-48 in Southold.
“I guess you could say it was a little bit of a revenge game,” Geismar said. “We wanted this game real bad. Because we won, we clinched second place in the league. Had we lost there would be a three-team tie for second. So the girls really wanted to win this game to show Mercy, Pierson and everyone else that we’re the second best team in the league.”
Though Mercy (5-5) fought hard from start to finish, the Clippers never relinquished the lead after taking it early on in the first quarter. The Monarchs creeped to within two on multiple occasions but just couldn’t get over the hump.
“I would describe this game as mayhem,” Monarchs head coach Matt Brisson said. “I thought we came out the gates a little slow and we had a lot of shot opportunities that we didn’t convert on.”
“And Tabor is a great little player over there,” he continued.
Madison Tabor, who finished with a game-high 19 points to go along with her eight steals, was all over the court, converting on every opportunity she could.
“She’s our scorer,” Geismar said. “Nobody else could really score tonight. We put up a lot of shots but she’s the only one who really scored. She scores a lot because of hustle. She’s always all over the floor, sprinting up and down, diving for balls and everything. She’s our leader, she’s our point guard, she’s our shooting guard, she’s everything to us.”
Only a sophomore, Tabor doesn’t shy away from the spotlight. She loves having the ball in her hands.
“When it’s a close game, I want to have the ball in my hands,” Tabor said. “I trust every one of my teammates but when it comes down to it, you want to have it in the guard’s hands.”
Tabor was crucial in closing out the game, refusing to turn the ball over to give Mercy a chance to come back down the stretch of the game.
“Losing by one point last time felt horrible,” Tabor said. “It was so bad. I just felt so defeated. So it was revenge, you could say.”
Angelica Klavas scored eight points and Kenya Sanders scored seven for the Clippers.
Mary Reiter led the Monarchs with nine points and Jules Cintron added eight.
Mercy’s Brisson had a DVD of their last game against Port Jefferson in his hands coming out of the locker room following the game in anticipation of their playoff matchup.
“We’ll probably be getting the final seed in the playoffs so we might play against Port Jefferson,” Brisson said. “I watch film all the time. That’s just one of those things about me.”
Both teams will know who they’re playing in the Class B playoffs come Monday. It could possibly even be a rematch between the two teams.
“Looking forward to it,” Brisson said.