Despite a season filled with illnesses, freak injuries, and lonely practice sessions, the South Side girls’ basketball team’s perseverance has been commendable in 2019-20.
There have been days when head coach Dan Ferrick has had only five girls at practice and he has only started they same lineup on two or three occasions, yet after last Saturday afternoon’s 47-33 victory over visiting Roslyn, the Lady Cyclones improved their record to 10-4 overall (6-1 in Nassau Conference A-III.)
Senior Katie McMahon scored 10 points and pulled down six rebounds to lead South Side, which shook off a sloppy first half to win its third straight game. Sophomore Bridget Basile had 11 points for the Lady Cyclones. Roslyn’s Amanda Bruck scored 18 points to match her career-high and lead all scorers.
“Every day it has been something new in terms of injuries,” Ferrick said. “The one positive is that girls who wouldn’t have received as much playing time have played a ton. We’ve had to ham and egg it to get through games. But, we’re getting healthy now.”
McMahon, who has committed to play lacrosse at Stanford, leads the team with 11.7 points per game. But, the four-year varsity player’s contributions go far beyond the scoresheet.
“Katie has been one of the few girls who has been relatively healthy all season long,” Ferrick said. “She just goes about her business and works hard. She’s the most athletic player we have, she plays great defense, and she’s unselfish. Her consistent play is a testament to who she is.”
At the onset of the season, Ferrick had big expectations for 6-foot-1 junior Sydney Rathjen. But, and injury has kept her on the shelf since November. Rathjen is expected to return shortly. When his team is healthy, Ferrick could have four girls who are 6-foot or taller on the court at the same time.
Basile was expected to make a contribution, but her role increased when the injury bug reared its ugly head. Basile has been instant offense off the bench. She’s become a legitimate threat from behind the arc, and she gets it done from the free throw line. Senior Arianna McLean is averaging 7.2 points per game. She scored a career-high 12 in a loss to first-place Division.
Theresa Kenney, Emily Belling, and Casey Shargel are among those who have come up clutch in big spots for the Lady Cyclones. Julia Cavanagh has been a pleasant surprise. Despite giving up considerable size to opponents, Cavanagh has been tough on the glass and sets the tone with her hustle and hard work.
”We need to play better against the stronger teams,” Ferrick said. “We miss too many easy ones. Teams are going to play zone against us, so one of our focuses is going to be to improve our zone offense. We’re getting people back at the right time, but we’re still going to have to jell.”
The Lady Cyclones welcome in Division on Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m.