White Plains girls surge past Scarsdale
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Not many teams in Section 1 open their season against a league opponent. And not many teams in Section 1 open up against a breakout star and legitimate scoring threat.
White Plains — which took on host Scarsdale on Thursday — was confronted with both.
But the Tigers refused to blink, overcoming a standout performance from Scarsdale's Shelby Zucker (game-high 24 points) to score a 55-48 comeback win.
"It's a great way to start the season," said White Plains senior Sofia Roman, who is verbally committed to play at Dartmouth. "The first game against a good league opponent; you have to come to play. We started off slow but we pulled it together to win."
White Plains (1-0) trailed 23-18 at the half before scoring 17 points in the third quarter and 20 points in the fourth.
"We got into our flow a little better in the second half," Tigers coach Sue Adams said. "Kim Hanlon got into foul trouble early and it changed the way we played a little. We definitely got our offense going in the second half, but defensively we settled in and played a lot better."
While Zucker was the best player on the court, both Roman and fellow guard Kim Hanlon (21 points, 12 rebounds) were pretty darn good, too. The duo overwhelmed Scarsdale in the second half en route to the victory.
"White Plains has two very good guards," said first-year Scarsdale coach Michael Blanco, who previously coached at Hastings. "You can only contain them for so long before they start making plays. We battled with them, but down the stretch they did what they needed to. They're pros."
Romand and Hanlon were also tasked with defending Zucker, who added eight rebounds, scored nine first-quarter points, shot 64 percent from the field and at one point had a part in 13 straight points.
"(Zucker) is a great player," said Hanlon, who went on a run of her own with seven straight points in the third quarter. "She can take it to the basket and shoot. I knew I had to score to try and keep up while she was hot, but we settled in on the other end and didn't allow her to dominate anymore."
White Plains trailed by one point heading into the fourth quarter and then used a big run to go up eight points. Scarsdale tried to hang around, but Roman hit big free throws down the stretch to seal it.
Scarsdale has some talent around Zucker that will allow it to compete this year. Teammate Casey Pearlman had 10 points and the Raiders used a consistent rotation throughout the game.
"I think people expect us to not be that great," Zucker said. "But I think we'll surprise them. We can compete and we'll only get better all season."
The competition only gets tougher for White Plains, as they host Rye in its tournament this weekend and then travel to Ursuline next week. However, the Tigers feel it will only make them better down the stretch.
"Our scrimmages really prepared us for this opening schedule," Adams said. "We don't have that much depth this year, so this is getting us some quality experience early in the season. Down the stretch and in the playoffs, these games will make a big difference mentally. It can only make us stronger."
Follow Jordan Griffith on Twitter @MSGV_JGriffith