An experiment in basketball strategy proved risky for East York Athenas Oct. 12.
Coach Gina Theofilaktidis spread her charges out on the hardwood initially, which led to 12-11 lead for Riverdale at the end of the first, and an ensuing 22-19 deficit at halftime.
“We tried the zone for one quarter and we realized it wasn’t really working, so we turned back to man-to-man and then full court press to full press and it just gained us points,” she said.
The Athenas senior girls basketball squad needed extra time to beat Riverdale 49-46. It was a close score, even considering the Raiders’ reservations in facing their rival, said coach Trung Duong.
“I think East York is probably one of the top teams in this league now because their junior team won city last year so that’s why coming in I thought we were going to be weaker than we were,” Duong said.
East York’s junior basketball team was top of the city in 2009, and with some of the team’s members graduating to senior, Duong expected a lambasting.
“Our girls were a little nervous coming into this game,” Duong said. “We talked about it and we had our game plan figured out so that’s how we got into a little bit of a lead at the beginning, which helped for confidence.”
Leading the way for East York was point guard Whitney Watts whose skills helped win the game in overtime. A key steal, four points and an assist on Teshauna Gray’s deuce slammed shut Riverdale’s chances.
Theofilaktidis commended Watts and Gray’s abilities to narrow the gap and go on a 6-0 run in overtime.
“(Watts) is our magic player but in general I’ve been coaching the same group for years and they have just progressed every year,” she said.
As for any East York juniors from last season making the jump to Theofilaktidis’ team, Dana Chiang was the only name mentioned, as she chipped in with three crucial steals in the fourth quarter and deposited eight points on the scorecard.
Still, there’s a lot more work to accomplish after the failed zone defence strategy, Theofilaktidis said.
“We’re going to work a little bit on our cardio-respiratory fitness just so we can be able to do full court press all the time.”