Friday, December 7, 2012

North Shore wins season-opening tournament thanks mostly to defense

OK, so this time, the girls' team from North Shore HS (Glen Head, N.Y) didn't force quite as many turnovers as it did in the season opener. Of course, the Vikings will have a difficult time matching the 64 they came up with against Sewanhaka. That doesn't mean their defense was any less effective in Game 2 of the Wantagh Sports Booster Club tournament.

Caroline Robertson finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds to gain MVP honors of the event, and Alexandra Cantwell had 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists to help North Shore beat host Wantagh 71-55 Thursday night.

Tara Feehan added 10 points and made three 3-pointers, and Erin Sheerin filled up her stat sheet with seven points, seven rebounds and five steals.

"We had three girls with five or more steals in this game," Vikings coach Keith Freund told Newsday. "This team has a real passion for defense and really enjoys getting after teams. We pressed the whole game and were able to convert a lot of steals."

North Shore forced "only" 40 turnovers in this one, leading to 21 steals. Coach Freund spoke a little more about this effort on the Yahoo! message board devoted to The System:

"We are the preseason No. 1 in our class and Wantagh is the preseason No. 2. We graduated eight from last year and one girl moved to Arizona, so many were calling for us to lose big to Wantagh (especially with their 6-foot-4 girl in the pain), but we ended up winning 71-55. One part of The System that so many people overlook is we can lose nine players from a 20-2 team that was ranked No. 4 in NYS and we still return nine players this year (seven of whom played significant minutes). Graduation does not hurt as much for a System team as it does for traditional. 
Big difference from this year to last year's team. This year our offense is not as fluid (because it is still early and we graduated our gazzelle point guard who could take off from the FT against a 2-3 zone and still score), but this team really gets after it on defense. I know it might be heresy, but to me, The System (especially with HS girls) is all about the defense. We caused 64 turnovers on Tuesday and last night we turned them over 40 times with 21 steals. In addition, because our press is relentless this year, their big girl had to help on the press and only scored nine points as she was always 75 feet from the basket. 
Overall, a really solid first week with the girls playing inspired ball."

Great stuff there from Coach Freund, who allowed me to share his thoughts on The System in this post last season. I wish him and his team the best of luck this season.

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