Danielle Cosgrove didn’t want to be a ball hog.
But as a 6-4 sophomore, with a drop-step that is very difficult to defend, a little hogging can lead to a lot of winning.
“We talked this summer about how she needs to take more shots,” Sachem East coach Brent Lawrence said. “Now she’s understanding we are a better team when she’s taking quality shots and taking more shots. She’s comfortable in that role now and is demanding the ball more out there.”
That showed this week as Cosgrove, Newsday’s Athlete of the Week, averaged 30.7 points and 14.7 rebounds in the final three games of the regular season. By winning out, the Flaming Arrows hosted a home playoff game on Friday, in which Cosgrove had 18 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocks to lead No. 8 Sachem East to a 55-34 win over No. 9 Northport.
“More people will start to double me and if I get the ball more often there is more of a chance that another teammate will be open,” she said of demanding the ball. “So I think that definitely helps with the offense.”
What also helps is the efficient rate at which Cosgrove is scoring by not forcing shots but allowing them to come within the flow of the offense. She has been dominant in the post, but she also leads the team with 23 three-pointers made this season. She closed out the regular season with a 29-point, 21-rebound performance in a win over Longwood, and a 37-point, 13-rebound game in a win over Sachem North.
Cosgrove, in her third year on varsity, is averaging 22.8 points, third most in Suffolk Class AA, and 12.7 rebounds. She is already fifth on the Sachem East girls basketball program’s all-time scoring list with 797 points, trailing the Dohertys — Kristen (2,277), Katie (1,339) and Meagan (1,327) — and Kat Everson (1,169).
Cosgrove will look to continue her recent hot streak when Sachem East plays at top-seeded Ward Melville in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
“Every time she touches the ball it feels like it’s going to go in,” Lawrence said. “That’s what we feel like when she gets the rock right now and puts a shot up. It’s like, ‘OK, two points. Come on, get ready to play defense.’ She’s just not missing.”
Which is why he wants her to be something of a ball hog.