Rutherford, NJ - On Thursday afternoon the Becton girls visited St. Mary for a contest at George Vuyosevich Memorial Gymnasium. Becton always brings thoughts of Dick Vitale. Yes, that one, ‘Dickie V’ to his legion of fans. Years, no decades ago, Vitale coached the boys team at East Rutherford High School. Back in the day the Gaels and East Rutherford (with star Les Cason) had quite the battles. After the 1970-71 campaign Vitale moved on to take an assistant job at Rutgers. A few years later the school eventually became a regional school, and changed the name to Becton Regional, still located in East Rutherford.
On this afternoon Becton put on a shooting performance that would have made Vitale proud. The Lady Wildcats posted a 46-31 over the Gaels. Becton grabbed the lead at the 5:43 mark of the first period and never looked back.
"We actually played well in spurts," St. Mary coach Hunter DeBellis said. "Becton had sharpshooters and they did a great job finding them."
Becton coach Mike Ryan had his Lady Wildcats full court press the Gaels. In a half court defense they alternated between man and 2-3 zone. Becton forced turnovers with the press, contributing to a 26-15 lead at the half. On the game the Lady Wildcats had 17 steals.
St. Mary played a 2-3 zone. Becton countered with a pass to the post and reversal to the weak side for a good look on the perimeter. "They (Becton) just did a great job with ball movement in the offense and finding open shooters," DeBellis said. "I admired that and pointed that out to my team as something they can learn from. I told them down the road that will be us."
St. Mary trailed by 16 after three periods. DeBellis, in the huddle leading to the final period, implored her team to ‘keep chipping away’. They stayed after it yet never really made a serious run. Despite the outcome DeBellis cited bright spots on the Gael side.
"We had opportunities but have to learn to finish," DeBellis said. "We got inside their zone and things are starting to click (offensively)." The Gaels, led by Cyan Vilar with 13 boards, out rebounded Becton 55-48. Unfortunately many of those second chances from close range did not find the bottom of the net.
Paige Sonzogni led the Gaels with 10 points and 9 rebounds. The Gael freshman guard has played very well of late. "We asked Paige to play some point with ‘Andy’ (Adriana Cabrera) out," DeBellis said. Paige has really stepped up for us." Sonzogni handled the point and took her shots when available. She did not force the issue showing good poise for a first year high school player.
Katie Reiner led the way for Becton with a game high 21 points. The smooth shooting Reiner knocked down five of the Lady Wildcats' seven treys. Francesca Matraxia added a double-double 15 points and 11 rebounds for Becton.
Becton improved to 8-5 while St. Mary is now 6-7. The Gaels resume action Saturday traveling to Indian Hills High School for a first round Bergen Invitational Tournament matchup.