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Tappan Zee Girls Basketball Rallies to Win at Pearl River

Updated with details of Tappan Zee's 63-54 victory at Pearl River.

Pearl River relied on its defensive pressure to dominate early in Wednesday's home game against rival Tappan Zee and led most of the game. 

The Pirates still held an 11-point advantage with 5:40 remaining in the game when the Dutchies took control of the contest with a 14-0 run, then pulled away in the final moments for a 63-54 victory. Tappan Zee outscored Pearl River, 23-3, over that final 5:40. 

Lauture said that the Pirates' scorers struggled to establish themselves all game, but their defensive pressure had allowed them to take the lead.
"What got us in the lead and kept them on their heels was our pressure all game," Lauture said. "We never really established any one or two kids who were putting up baskets for us. That put us on our heels at the end. Credit them for playing great D. Our pressure kind of waned at the end. We didn't get the same kind of pressure we did earlier on and they had a very good quarter."

"Our shots started falling for us," Tappan Zee senior McLaughlin said. "We were getting more movement with the ball. We were getting our confidence up and staying together. That's when we really started our run."

McLaughlin and junior Jill Lych did most of the damage during the run, as they did all through the contest. McLaughlin made a pair of 3-point shots and punctuated the run with a three-point play to give her team a 54-51 advantage, contributing nine of her 28 points during the decisive rally. Lynch scored the other five points and finished the game with 22.

"They were unselfish," Tappan Zee Head Coach Tom Cromer said. "They shared the ball. Everything happened within the concept of what we want to do offensively. Obviously, Kristen got the ball in some great places on the floor and made things happen. That's kudos to her. Jill hit some big shots."

"I thought we did a great job on (McLaughlin) for three quarters, but in the fourth quarter she really turned it on," Lauture said. "You can get a sense that she was going to get going at some point, but I figured after an and-one here or a shot there, we would be able to sustain the blow, but we couldn't come back with anything on (our) end."

McLaughlin also played a key role defensively against Pearl River's Emma Daly, helping Tappan Zee hold her to 12 points, well below her average of 20.5 per game. Jessie Neugebauer and Sam Alicandri each scored 13 points for the Pirates (6-3). Lauture said the Dutchies focused on taking Daly away. 

"Emma has had the advantage of playing a lot of girls smaller than her," Lauture said. "She really did a great job on Emma. You could see every time she put the ball on the floor, everybody was zeroing in on her. Every time she went up for a rebound, there were two, three girls around her. They focused on her and that's something Emma has to get used to."

"Emma's a great player," Cromer said. "Kristen's a great defender as well. We've got to try to minimize what the other team's best players do and hopefully manage everyone else as well."

Cromer said his team did a better job on both ends of the floor in the second half. Pearl River dominated early, building a 16-7 lead after the first quarter. 

"We defended and rebounded (in the second half)," Cromer said. "I know it sounds simple, but if you look at the first half, I don't know that we could have played any worse offensively or defensively."
McLaughlin said Tappan Zee spends a lot of practice time preparing for Pearl River's pressure, but did a better job handling it and taking good shots later in the game. 

"Once we got past the initial getting the ball up the court, and that was a problem really in the first half, we were getting what we wanted," McLaughlin said. "Our shot selection got much better in the second half, which really helped us.

"(Beating the pressure) is like foul shots. It's a big mental game. Just getting through it. It's mental and processing what you have to do."

Pearl River still managed to keep pushing the lead into double digits, finishing the third quarter with an 8-2 run to keep the lead at 47-36. Then the shots stopped falling. Daly scored to put Pearl River up, 48-38, early in the fourth quarter, but that was the last shot the Pirates made from the field in the contest. She made two free throws at the 5:40 mark, but the Pirates would not score again until Neugebauer's two free throws with 2:43 left. 

Tappan Zee plays at home 4:30 p.m. Friday against Nyack. Pearl River's next game is 4:15 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13 at Suffern. 

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