Sachem East is the healthiest it has been all season and the Flaming Arrows could be the best team on Long Island right now. They beat host Kellenberg this afternoon, 61-44, in a battle of two of the top teams on Long Island. The Firebirds have won eight of their last nine games and the loss came to nationally-ranked PSAL powerhouse Bergtraum.
Boston College-bound Kristen Doherty had 27 points, nine steals and six rebounds. She didn’t shoot well and said she is in a shooting slump lately. She went 10-for-30 from the field. But as always, she still finds a way to have an impact on the game. Many of her steals led to easy baskets on offense.
Doherty scores most of the points for Sachem East and as a star player should, she will take most of the shots. But Sachem East is getting contributions from other players offensively. Meagan Doherty, Kristen’s sister, missed one month of the season with a partially torn left MCL. She returned on Jan. 5 and started slowly. She scored 16 points against Longwood last week and had 16 of her 18 points in the second half against Kellenberg.
She scored eight points in a 20-7 third quarter. Caitlin Hopkins has made tremendous strides and she scored 10 points. Kelsey Ferguson, Kathleen Everson and Stephanie Burrow have also contributed offensively at times this season.
In the decisive 16-2 run in the third quarter, Meagan scored eight points and Hopkins had five. Kristen made her contribution on the defensive end with a steal at midcourt for a fastbreak layup and she forced a steal leading to a basket by Meagan to cap a 14-0 run that gave the Flaming Arrows a 44-23 lead.
“We really transitioned well,” Kristen said. “Once we got the ball on defense we really kicked it out and ran up the court. Our fastbreak game was great.”
The biggest thing for Sachem East this season has been its staunch defense. Kellenberg had a difficult time getting good looks at the basket.
“We tried to throw some different looks at them defensively but Kristen is such a dynamic player,” Kellenberg coach Meghan Moran said. “She was all over the place defensively. We wanted to get the ball to Emma [O’Connor] down low and struggled with that.”
The Marist-bound O’Connor was limited to 11 shots from the field, including just eight in the first three quarters. She had 12 points and nine rebounds. Nicole Trepeta had 16 points, including four three-pointers.
“Emma O’Connor is a fabulous player and Kristen did a great job with her in the open floor,” Sachem East coach Matt Brisson said. “Kristen also has a way of cutting down angles and getting other people involved. She’s intelligent and even on a subpar shooting night, she’s still going to manufacture points in some way. The goal coming in was to limit her touches. When O’Connor gets her hand on it, she’s going to hurt you.”
Sachem East has played one of the toughest schedules on Long Island. The Flaming Arrows opened the season with a loss to St. Anthony’s and then lost to North Babylon without Kristen and Meagan Doherty. They also beat St. John the Baptist without Meagan. SJB was without Alexis Smith and Anastasia Williams. Sachem East has lost in the last two Suffolk Class AA championship games.
“We went through some hard times early in the year with me and Kristen getting injured,” Meagan said. “When we were out other girls stepped up and now they have some experience. We have a lot to prove. We lost our first game with everyone healthy. We always get to the end and lose.”
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