The Port Jefferson girls basketball team wanted to prove itself early on. Needless to say, mission accomplished.
Port Jefferson scored 26 of the game’s first 30 points en route to a 63-20 victory over Smithtown Christian in the Suffolk Class C/D championship at Newfield High School Saturday afternoon.
The Royals (16-2) advance to play Greenport/Southold (15-3) in the Suffolk BCD championship at Newfield High School Saturday at 12 p.m.
“We just knew not to take anyone lightly and that anything can happen in the playoffs,” junior Lola Idir said. “We just wanted to announce ourselves and I feel we did.”
Abby Rolfe had 25 points and six rebounds, Idir added 20 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and eight steals and Amy Whitman had five points, eight rebounds and six assists in the win.
Port Jefferson used a 20-2 run over six minutes to take a 34-6 lead with 3:16 remaining in the second quarter. The Royals led 40-9 at halftime.
“Every sprint we ran this week was for this game and we played our hearts out,” Rolfe said. “I think just everything was working. Our shots were falling, we were boxing out and I think our chemistry was there.”
Port Jefferson held Smithtown Christian to just three field goals in the contest with a tough defensive effort.
“We expected it,” Idir said. “We practiced (defense) the whole week and that’s what the coaches were telling us we were going to do. They fully believed in us and we were able to execute it.”
Keith Buehler and Jesse Rosen, the Port Jefferson co-head coaches, consistently emphasize defense at practice and in games and were pleased with the team’s effort.
“It’s the most important thing,” Idir said. “The coaches hammer in defense wins game and defense wins championships and that’s what we’re trying to do this year.”
Port Jefferson emerged out of halftime with the same execution, outscoring Smithtown Christian, 17-4, in the quarter to take a 57-13 lead.
“We know the offense is going to happen,” Buehler said. “But the defense is our key.”
Both Port Jefferson and Smithtown Christian will continue into the state tournament. Port Jefferson plays Carle Place in the Long Island Class C championship in a state subregional March 9. Smithtown Christian (7-9) plays in a Class D state subregional at Kings Park High School March 8 at 5 p.m.
“We’ve set expectations early in the year to be playing late February, early March and late March and it’s coming to fruition in the way we thought it was,” Rosen said. “So it’s exciting to meet goals that we expected.”