It's almost always the case that not everything talked about during interviews gets included in the story. Sometimes there isn't enough space for it, sometimes it's a tangential topic that doesn't flow with the main theme of the story. For example, the Sachem East/North Babylon game story, because of how it played out in the final minutes – with the Flaming Arrows holding on to win, 45-44, in Monday's Class AA semifinals – the story called for a lot of game detail and play-by-play, which limits the number and lengths of the quotes that can get in, even though you want them to get in. But, hey, we've got space on the blog. So here are some of the leftover items from the interviews that weren't quoted in the paper.
On North Babylon coming back from down 18-2 in the second quarter and eventually taking a 30-27 lead in the third: “We knew they had the ability to come back, but we just kept playing hard.”
On North Babylon's full-court press late in the second quarter: “We knew they'd come at us with a zone press, so we practiced that. [Coach Matt] Brisson told me, Katie and the other guards to take our time and pass through it. Don't try dribbling too much because that won't break it.”
Was there any nervousness when the Bulldogs came from behind? “I don't think so. I've been in a lot of big games with my sister [Kristen Doherty, now at Boston College] the last few years. You can't let it get to you. The mindset is the same: you have to keep playing hard, whether you're up 20 or down. You have to play with the same intensity, so I try not to let the score get to me. On offense, there's times you know you have to score, but most times I don't let it get to me.”
How determined is this team to win back-to-back Class AA titles? “We're a young team, but we really have a lot of heart. You can ask every girl that was on the team last year: we know what it it's like to win. That feeling is like, you can't even describe it. And the girls who were on the team last year but didn't get a lot of minutes, they saw how much fun we had and they really want to get there so they're doing everything in their power to have that feeling.”
North Babylon plays in League III and Sachem East is in League I, but, given the recent playoff history, do the players consider it a rivalry? “I wouldn't consider it a rivalry. We're just two teams known to have a lot of talent. Every time we step on the court together, all of us and everyone in the stands know it's going to be a good game. You have to come in giving everything you have and just expect North Babylon to come at you with everything they have, and they did that.”
With Sachem East up, 43-42, with about 25 seconds left, Carmel leaped up high to grab a defensive rebound, which preceded Meagan Doherty's free throws to make it 45-42. “I didn't want to give the ball away,” Carmel said. “I had to chase down that rebound. We hadn't boxed out all game and I needed to get that rebound.”
Was it nerve-wracking when North Babylon rallied? "A little. It's weird that we only won by one point. It didn't seem like that. The first half we were on a roll, then in the second half they started hitting shots. And we did a horrible job of boxing out."
On the county finals (vs. Deer Park at 7:30 Friday): “I'm already thinking about it and I've got jitters. I can't wait to win.”
Coach Matt Brisson
On the benefit of his team playing in tight playoff games: “There's a maturity level that they gain with each possession in the postseason because you're in situations you've never been in; it's uncharted territory. It's a priceless experience for them.”
North Babylon rallying from a slow start: “We jumped out to a big lead, but we knew we wouldn't hold that kind of lead over them... The one thing you can't put a value on is the competitive nature of the kids. North Babylon, they are so competitive and they battle you all the way. I had no doubt at the beginning of the game that it was not going to be a lopsided affair. It was a matter of, “Can we hold off the charge?”
On the last-second shot that would have won it for North Babylon: “All you can hope is to put hard pressure on the ball without fouling. And if the Good Lord's with you, they don't go in sometimes.”
North Babylon's strong rebounding: “They were able to get numerous extra possessions because of how relentless they are on the glass. I don't think it's anything we were doing wrong; it's a credit to their athleticism. You get into a jumping contest with a team that's so athletic, you're not going to come out on the top end too often.”
Clutch performances late in the game: “All the kids have blossomed into key contributors. At first, to have no fear to put the shots up, then to knock it down, it means they're arriving. We've got a ways to go, but the kids are maturing nicely.”
On Carmel's big three-pointers in the second half: “If you leave her alone, I don't think there are too many kids more dangerous shooting if she gets her feet set. She had a big three in the third quarter and another one in the fourth quarter, and every single point counted, obviously.”
What's it like, in your freshman year now, to have become a big contributor to the team? “It feels great. We've accomplished so much. This group has been together a long time so we've got that chemistry."
Last season it was her cousin, Kristen Doherty, who led the team to a championship. Does the family connection ever enter your thoughts? “People say all the time that the Dohertys are very good basketball players, but I think it's the whole team. Everybody contributes.”
Does any pressure come with the name? “I don't really feel any pressure. I just kind of play as hard as I can and do what I can do.”
* On a somber note, after the game, the Flaming Arrows rushed to get to a wake in Ronkonkoma for Kelsey Ferguson's grandfather.