Two Sophia’s are better than one, especially for the Northport girls basketball team.
Sophia Bica and Sophia Yearwood have waited 11 months to step back on the floor following their Suffolk overall championship win against Westhampton last March, and when they did, they put on quite the show.
Bica scored nine of her 21 points in the third quarter and Yearwood had 11 of her 19 points in the first quarter to lead Northport past host Lindenhurst, 80-32, in a Suffolk League II matchup Friday evening.
Yearwood totaled seven rebounds and three steals and Bica added five assists, eight rebounds and three steals. They both did not play in the fourth quarter.
Allie Soule had 10 rebounds and four blocks and Emma Blanco totaled 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals for the Tigers.
"One of the big things we tried to focus on in practice was our conditioning. Coach told us that we need to be in better shape than the other team," Bica said. "We have been doing a lot of running, we went through all our plays and were able to get up and down the court."
The Tigers took a 41-23 lead into halftime but had a tough time defending Lindenhurst’s Kelly Griffin.
Griffin scored 18 of the Bulldogs' first half points, including eight in the first quarter. She finished with a game-high 23.
Northport clamped down on defense in the second half and did a fantastic job of rebounding, which led to numerous second chance opportunities. They opened the third quarter with a 13-0 run that spanned more than four minutes to take a 54-23 lead.
"We were really focused-in on boxing out during our practices," Yearwood said. "We knew they had some taller girls and knew we had to crash the glass on both sides of the ball."
The defending Suffolk Class AA champions lost three starters to graduation, including Newsday's Suffolk player of the year Danielle Pavinelli. With the departure of Pavinelli, Bica has stepped into the primary point guard role.
"Last year I was the secondary point guard to Danielle, so now it’s a bit different," Bica said. "I am taking up the ball a lot more and calling out the plays. It’s a bigger responsibility, but I’m embracing it."
Rich Castellano, who is in his 41st season as coach of Northport, had one word come to mind in his return to game action.
"It’s the best, it’s the absolute best," he said. "This has been my life for all this time."