East Rockaway working towards goals


Sitting at 7-4 overall and 3-1 in conference play, head coach Cheri Poland thinks the East Rockaway girls’ basketball team is “doing okay,” but has a long way to go before they reach the end of the season.
“Everybody is really working hard and committed to what our goals are,” Poland said. “That’s definitely coming along and they’re working well with each other.”
What are those goals?
“The goals that we have right now is to get back where we were last year,” Poland said. “Lat year, we beat Carle Place in the quarterfinal and that put us in the semi-final against Cold Spring Harbor, so the girls are really vested in getting back to the to the county playoffs again; they would like to get through counties and then get on to [Long Island] state.”
Seems feasible, considering that, East Rockaway just beat Carle Place, 54-53 in overtime, in its most-recent game on Jan. 4.

To shoot for such a goal, coach told her team from day one everyone has to hustle day in and day out to get the final dribble, and absolutely nobody is getting passed on: “We’ve been working a lot on building confidence, believing in ourselves and pushing through when it gets competitive,” Poland said. “Not to break under pressure but to really push forward and come out on top.”
One advantage is that there’s a wider bench, meaning more assets for unique situations for Poland.
“We have a larger team than we had in the past, so this year we definitely can go a little bit deeper [in the bench], which is helpful,” Poland explained. “We’re trying to develop those girls and to get them more in the scoring. Right now we have two players that are scoring most consistently, but we need others to kind of get in on that action as well.”
Molloy-committed Emma Poland leads the charge with 21 points per game, including 26 in the win over Carle Place. It’s no secret to the rest of the conference how much of a threat she is. “She’s often hard to defend because if they double her in the post she can move out and hit the three,” coach Poland said.
Sophomore Maya Motherway is averaging 12 points per game and exploded to help lead the way against Carle Place, pouring in 22 including the winning foul shot. “She’s really coming on strong and hit some huge shots in the Carle Place game,” coach Poland said.
Solidifying the starting lineup most games are senior Isabella Alvarez, and juniors Sophia Pappas and Norah Rose. Also contributing are seniors Ema Basic and juniors Sofia Tizio and Rachel Burch.
A trend coach Poland noticed is that the team is like diamonds: shine under pressure. This was especially evident in the team’s four-game win streak in early December.
“Being in that South Side tournament and going up against Locust Valley, they thrive on the bigger games,” Poland said. “During those games they get excited and ready to go and motivated.”
Now, it’s just a matter of focus.
“I feel like we can beat anyone at any time, if they’re all locked-in,” coach Poland said.