The Plainedge girls basketball team got defensive on Thursday night.
The Red Devils brought pressure from every angle, settling into a potent half-court trap en route to a 55-37 victory over Glen Cove in Nassau A-III. By the final whistle, Plainedge forced 21 turnovers.
“It really worked for us defensively,” said forward Charlotte Cavaliere, who finished with 18 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks. “That defense is so much fun and the teamwork for us has been incredible this year.”
Plainedge (2-0) held Glen Cove to two field goals in the first quarter, forcing the Knights into corners and limiting shooting options.
It was a play the Red Devils have practiced all season, keeping their feet moving and their hands high as soon as opponents touch the ball, and coach Sarah Tansey said defense has become the backbone of the team in its first few games.
“We’ve worked really hard on the trap,” Tansey said. “We run it out of two different sets so it confuses teams and once they get comfortable with one, we switch it up on them. It’s been successful so far for us.”
Plainedge’s success on defense effectively set the tone in the first half and, despite some early-game shooting woes of their own, the Red Devils went into the break with a spring in their collective step, holding a 32-19 lead.
The Red Devils continued to swarm the ball in the second half and, even when Glen Cove got a shot off, crashed the boards to limit the Knights to one-and-done possessions. Cavaliere was a force in the paint, working down low and helping Plainedge push the ball in transition.
“You really have to box out, grab the ball and then get it to our point guard,” Cavaliere said of her physicality in the post. “Getting those rebounds, it’s all about keeping my arms strong and holding on.”
Trinity Hudson did her best to spark Glen Cove down the stretch, scoring 14 of her game-high 24 points in the second half, but it wasn’t quite enough to break through the Plainedge defense.
There’s still plenty of season left, and Plainedge is looking for a bit more offense soon, but the Red Devils also know the cliché about defense and championships, certain their play on that side of the ball will only lead to more victories.
“We’re excited,” Tansey said. “The girls come to work hard every day and they’re just looking to get better.”