The South Side Lady Cyclones are having another strong season in 2018-19 by losing just two of their first 11 games while averaging just under 60 points a contest. But amazingly, head coach Dan Ferrick believes that the team has yet to peak.
The Lady Cyclones, who won 16 games a year ago on the heels of a conference title the previous season, is once again in the hunt for the Conference A-III title and sit one game behind first-place Plainedge in the standings through Jan. 11.
The highlight of the season thus far has been a six-game winning streak that started with a 68-42 win at Glen Cove on Dec. 17 and continued with wins over Roslyn, Herricks, Hewlett, Bethpage and Roosevelt. The Lady Cyclones average margin of victory during that run was 27 points.
“We’re improving,” Ferrick said. “I would think by the end of the season, we would be much more of a finished product. We’re just trying to get better every day. The thing we have to figure out most is we miss more shots within three feet than any team I’ve seen in my life.”
South Side hit a small bump in the road last Friday with a heartbreaking one-point loss at Division that moved the third-place Blue Dragons to within two games of the Lady Cyclones in the standings. South Side took a one-point lead with 14 seconds left on senior Erin McElwain’s jumper with 14 seconds left, but Division took advantage of a turnover and converted a layup as time expired for the win.
Ferrick uses a 10-player rotation during games and eight of them are averaging over four points a game. Junior Katie McMahon is the only player averaging double digits points at 11.4, and Ferrick says that number could easily rise with more consistency after she slumped for a combined eight points in the last two games.
“One of the things about the season so far is really been the surprise of the bench,” he explained. “How many different games have we had a different high scorer? When [Katie’s] not scoring, other people are stepping up and that’s a really good thing.”
South Side has a roster laden with underclassmen, but the team’s lone two seniors are having strong seasons. Kelsey Barrett upped her season point average to 9.5 after netting 17 against Division despite leaving in the third quarter with an ankle injury and McElwain is close behind at just under nine points a game and has already posted eight double-digit point games with 11 3-pointers.
“Kelsey Barrett has been nothing short of dominant,” Ferrick said.
Sydney Rathjen has been battling injuries the past two seasons, but the 6-foot-1 sophomore center has made an impact when she has been on the court by averaging just under eight points a game, including a 14-point effort against Oceanside on Dec. 12.
The Lady Cyclones faced Plainedge for the first time this season in a huge contest for both schools on Wednesday after press time before hosting struggling Glen Cove this Saturday at noon.