Suffolk Outlasts Nassau in
If there's anything in basketball
it's hard to find an antidote for, it's speed.
Suffolk County All-Stars Coach Debbie Brajevich was
well-aware of how much of that attribute she had to
spare, and she used it to stifle a Nassau team that
held an early grip on the game.
“We have great guards and forwards with guard
skills,” she said after she coached the Suffolk
squad to an 84-79 win over Nassau at Molloy College
on Saturday afternoon. “So we wanted to press and
had their hands full early on, as part of Nassau's
Long Island Lutheran contingent (Lauren “Boogie”
Brozoski and Paige Kriftcher) sizzled from the
perimeter. Nassau's hot shooting was conflated with
frequent trips to the line, blasting them out to a
22-10 lead. Brozoski's ankle-breaking quickness had
it's match in the Suffolk back court, but when
LuHi's floor general took a seat, Suffolk took
advantage of the player rotation.
“When Boogie came out, we put pressure on some of
their guards that weren't [as adept] handling the
ball,” Coach Brajevich said.
The said pressure was the game-changer; the Nassau
turnovers came in droves. Quick-handed defense from
St. Anthony's Rebecca Musgrove (9 points), North
Babylon's Charise Watson (10 points), and St. John
The Baptist's Aliyah Smith frazzled Nassau's
ball-handlers. Energy boosts in the paint from St.
Anthony's Symone Kelly and Sachem East's Kathleen
Everson (9 points) bolstered Suffolk's defense on
the other end, and it wasn't long before they were
at Nassau's doorstep. Musgrove turned one of her
pick-pockets into a fast break lay-up to knot the
game at 21 with 7:25 left in the half. Efforts from
Kriftcher and Uniondale's Sakara Hester-Torres kept
Nassau afloat and protected the lead at halftime
(Nassau held a 39-36 advantage heading into the
locker room), but the problem of Suffolk's back
court speed had yet to be addressed beyond the
equalizing efforts of Brozoski.
Nassau opened the second half with a press, but
Suffolk decoded it and kept the game honest. They
responded instead with shooting and a Kriftcher trey
gave Nassau some breathing room, 43-38. Suffolk
spent the lion's share of the second half playing
catch-up and tying the score, but more defensive
grit from Musgrove and a strong second half from
Deer Park's Andrea Desvignes (who scored a team high
11 points, all in the second half) provided an extra
spark. A bucket from the diminutive senior gave
Suffolk their first lead of the half, 50-49, but
they were entrenched in a dog fight from the mid
point of the second half through the final horn.
The insertion of Brozoski – who, along with
Kriftcher, earned game high scorer accolades with 17
points – gave Nassau a boost every time. Caffeinated
shots of energy from Freeport's Sabrina Grayson and
Uniondale's Aliyah McDonald also made an impact, but
Suffolk's defense continued to disrupt Nassau's
“Outside shooting kept [Nassau] in the game,” said
Coach Brajevich. “But they couldn't get to the
basket on us.”
The ebb and flow continued past the two minute mark,
as Holy Trinity's Katie Poppe (11 points) nailed a
jumper to even the score at 76 with 1:40 left.
Kriftcher followed with a bucket to put Nassau up
one, but their fuel would run out. A series of solid
plays from Kelly and North Babylon's Brianna Jones
and clutch free throw shooting from Riverhead's
Jalyn Brown (10 points) sealed the deal. St.
Anthony's Chastity Taylor also added 10 points in
the win, making Suffolk's stat sheet balanced.
“These are 15 girls that never played together, but
they bonded immediately and played tough,” Coach
Brajevich noted. “[Nassau] outplayed us most of the
game. I wondered how we got the lead with a minute
left, but it's all about who has the most points and
the end. [We were] sloppy, but effective.”