Sometimes, basketball is simply about defense and timely baskets.
Emily Tierney provided the timely baskets, scoring 10 of her 12 points in the second half, and led a stifling defense as Plainedge rallied from a 24-21 halftime deficit to defeat Glenn, 51-45, in a non-league girls basketball game as part of the Suffolk Shootout at Northport Thursday.
Plainedge did most of its damage in the third quarter.
After two three-pointers by Glenn’s Samantha Groark and a free throw from Alyssa Adomaites put the Knights up 31-27, Ashley Lindsay found Tierney for a layup to spark a 7-0 Plainedge run and a 34-31 lead.
Adomaites tied it again with a high-arcing three-pointer, but after a first-half marred by fouls and countless missed layups, Plainedge was finally getting the ball into the net.
Lindsay stepped through the lane for a layup to regain the lead for the Red Devils, and Tierney had a putback as time expired in the third quarter to put Plainedge ahead, 38-34.
“They needed a wake-up call,” Red Devils coach Sarah Tansey said. “I told them at halftime, you have to get here now and start making plays and making layups. And we needed to get the ball out of [Adomaites’] hands and double her as much as possible.”
Clearly awake, Plainedge continued its tear into the fourth quarter. The lead ballooned to as much as 11 after Tierney fed Lindsay on a fast break for a 48-37 lead with less than four minutes left.
Charlotte Cavaliere led Plainedge (5-1) with 13 points, Tierney had 12 points and Lauren Krystall added 10. Lindsay had seven points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Despite the sluggish start, the Red Devils were able to remain in the game in the first half through an effective mix of man-to-man, a 1-3-1 full-court press and a ball-hawking half-court trap. Even with Adomaites seemingly scoring at will — she scored 18 of her 30 points in the first half — the consistent nagging by the Plainedge defense never allowed Glenn (4-1) to build more than a three-point lead.
As usuaI, the defense was a game-saver.
“Whether its practice or games, we really hone in on our defense, that’s key for us,” Tansey said. “So when we have nights like tonight, where we can’t make a layup, foul shot, or a jump shot, we’re able to make up for that on the defensive end.”