When the 2017-2018 basketball season tipped off, expectations were sky high at Sewanhaka. The Lady Indians were coming off a 19-3 season and a trip to the Nassau Class A Final Four, and with much of the nucleus of the team intact, they were hungry for more.
Fresh off quality victories over the likes of Northport, Brentwood, Hicksville, and Floral Park in non-league play, Sewanhaka traveled to Bellmore JFK, just as the year’s first snowstorm was homing in on the East Coast, to take on a team that had won its first eight contests.
The Lady Indians arrival proved to be as tough a foe as the blizzard, as Sewanhaka (8-1 overall, 3-0 in Conference A-II) got contributions from many en route to a 59-46 win. Junior Carly Bolivar scored 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, and Kate Weinschreider added 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Junior point guard Flo Hunte was superb on both ends of the floor, scoring 17 points and dishing out six assists, while wreaking havoc on defense with seven steals.
Defensive execution was clearly one of the keys to victory. “We came out looking to apply pressure on their guards and it was effective,” head coach Alex Soupios said. “We forced a lot of turnovers which led to points in transition. Our depth has been a huge factor. We’re getting quality minutes from girls coming off the bench. The team is definitely moving in the right direction.”
With junior captain Ashley Cattle out of the lineup with an injury, sophomore Nia Lariosa stepped in and did an admirable job. Lariosa altered shots, pulled down rebounds, and was a terrific presence in the team’s full court press.
Weinschreider was a game-changer. When the Lady Cougars went to a zone, the senior captain effectively hit the seams and made her way to the basket for layups.
Bolivar (18 points per game) and Hunte (11.2) are consistently atop the scoresheet for the Lady Indians, but getting contributions from juniors Paola Aquino and Jessica Williams at big moments has been crucial. Aquino played a big role on the boards in the team’s 51-50 victory over Northport in the Suffolk Shootout Tournament at Northport High School.
No player does more off the bench than senior Cherish Francis. The team has won 27 of 31 games since Francis earned the role as first player off the bench in 2016-2017. She scored 16 points, added seven assists, and earned All-Tournament recognition in the win over Northport, and always seems to play well in big games.
“When they created Cherish Francis, they threw away the mold,” Soupios said. “She’s unique. Most teams see a downgrade when they go to the bench. Cherish often improves our team when she enters the game. She adds a different dynamic when she’s on the floor, and thrives on setting up teammates to score.”
Sewanhaka is back in action when it travels to Hewlett this Saturday for a tipoff at noon.