Center Moriches' Emma Morris drives through the key during a...

Center Moriches' Emma Morris drives through the key during a Suffolk League V girls basketball game against host Babylon on Friday, December 16, 2022. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Emma Morris was Center Moriches’ not-so-secret weapon Friday night.

The guard scored eight of her 17 points in the second half to propel Center Moriches to a 41-35 win at Babylon in a Suffolk V girls basketball game.

“Emma put the team on her shoulders and took them to the next level tonight,” Center Moriches coach Fred DelGiorno said.

The senior had five early points to help put Center Moriches ahead 12-0.

After switching to a man-to-man defense, Babylon (1-1) answered with a 24-3 run to go ahead 24-15 at halftime.

“When you go on runs like that, it drains a lot of your energy as a team,” Babylon coach Chris Ryan said. “Center Moriches came out strong in the second half, and it sort of turned us away.”

“Defense translates into offense,” Morris said. “I knew that once we started communicating on the court and getting rebounds, we could control the tempo of the game.”

Vanessa Stewart hit two three-pointers and Megan Magill added a three-pointer that gave Center Moriches (2-0) a 36-28 lead.

Delaney Kleinman and Jenna Kilkenny entered off the bench to help keep Babylon from going on another run.

“We don’t really worry about foul trouble because they can come in and create offense with their incredible defense by taking possessions away,” Center Moriches coach Fred DelGiorno said.

Determined to get to the line when Morris couldn’t, Charlotte Castiglione added six of her eight points in the second half.

Peyton Logue-Boyd led Babylon with 11 points.

“Our defense is a big part of our game,” Castiglione said. “We were making steals but we needed to finish. Emma was being face-guarded and we needed to keep up the energy.”

Center Moriches knew the win didn’t come easy, but its basketball IQ kept them dominant.

“Every game, every win is a part of this team’s growth,” DelGiorno said. “Babylon had a great offensive plan. We might have let up some buckets early, but these girls are smart and know how to adjust.”

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