OSSINING – It was almost worth the wait.
There is a lot of history on the gym walls here, which clearly inspires up-and-coming programs working to build a basketball legacy of their own.
New Rochelle had this game circled a long time ago.
“We’ve been losing to Ossining year after year,” Huguenots forward Kamara St. Paul said. “We knew we could take this one and we knew this could be the game that brings us together.”
New Rochelle more than measured up.
The Huguenots were on the go as soon as the whistle blew Thursday, setting a hectic pace, turning miscues into easy baskets and celebrating a resounding 63-38 victory.
“It’s such an important win for us,” New Rochelle point guard Kylie Rosenberg said. “It feels good to see the hard work we’re putting in come to something. We’re a young team, but this group has been together for a little while and this is just the beginning, so it’s really exciting.”
This was a big test for the Pride, as well. Ossining was not expected to contend for another Section 1 championship this season, but came in with 10 wins.
It was only close for six minutes.
“Probably our biggest struggle this season has been coming out slow,” Rosenberg said. “We worked on getting hyped before the game. It was important for us to come out with a statement and show that we’re not fooling around.”
The Huguenots do have plenty of room for growth. First-year coach Donald Ross had to improvise during multiple COVID-19 pauses and postponements.
New Rochelle did not play a game between Dec. 20 and Jan. 13.
“We never had the whole team at one time,” Ross said of a 15-day stretch. “We’d get three or four girls here and there and eventually we got five girls back and then we got seven. It’s only been the last week or so that we’ve had the whole team. It’s very disruptive because you’re going over things multiple times and there is no consistency. Now with the full team, we can go over something once and get on to the next thing and the next thing.
“We’re like 75% of the way there now.”
Ossining has been moving the ball well all season, but the Huguenots wreaked havoc, forcing 26 turnovers. Grace Ziogas and St. Paul got the offense rolling. Rosenberg opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer, Makira Bunsie converted an offensive rebound and Olivia Fosina scored on a backdoor layup to give New Rochelle a 23-7 lead with 6:40 to go in the first half.
“They’ve got a lot of athletes and they love to trap,” Pride coach Dan Ricci said. “We told our kids, ‘Don’t hold the ball too long. Pass it. Dribble it. Shoot it. Don’t stand there and hold it,’ and we held it far too much today.”
Player of the game
St. Paul was active in all facets, collecting 10 points, seven rebounds, six steals and three assists.
By the numbers
New Rochelle (6-3): Rosenberg had 16 points and four assists. … Bunsie scored 14 off the bench. … Ziogas had 10 points and six rebounds.
Ossining (10-2): Michelle Mercado had 14 points and five assists. … Katie Marx had six points. … Karen Perriott had two points and 12 rebounds.
“It was really hard to wait and that’s also part of what pushed us here,” St. Paul said. “We are so grateful to be back and excited to play good competition.”
Mike Dougherty covers boys soccer, boys lacrosse, girls basketball and golf for The Journal News/lohud.com. He can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter @hoopsmbd, @lohudlacrosse, @lohudhoopsmbd and @lohudgolf.
This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: lohud girls basketball New Rochelle beat Ossining 63-38, Jan. 27, 2022