When Scarsdale traveled to face Class A power Pearl River Wednesday, the contest ended in a 30-point loss for the visitors.
The lopsided defeat clearly resonated with the Raiders, who responded Friday with a 61-41 win over Carmel behind a 22-point effort from Emory-bound senior Shelby Zucker.
“To play (Pearl River) early in the season was a wake-up for us because we finally saw that we have a lot of work to do,” Zucker said. “By playing them, we got spanked and it made us wake up.”
The Raiders lack a post presence, so coach Mike Blanco has placed an emphasis on using his five guards to track down the ball and create transition opportunities.
“Since we don’t have the same size as our opponents, we’re working on boxing out, but boxing out the entire lane so … that we can get out and run,” Blanco said.
Scarsdale led 14-5 after the first quarter, and Carmel responded by collecting buckets on its first two possessions of the second period.
The Rams, who trailed 36-13 at the half, were unable to link many of their baskets together and allowed the Raiders to maneuver freely with the ball.
“Our key players got in foul trouble very early,” Carmel coach Dan O’Hare said. “This is basically the third game where our best post player (Kelsey Zwarych) has had to sit down within the first three minutes of the game.”
The Raiders’ advantage grew to as many as 27 points in the third quarter and Scarsdale never saw its lead go to fewer than 18 points in the final period.
“We really ran (Carmel) until they got tired and we kept up the pressure,” Scarsdale sophomore Abby McDonald said. “We tried to discourage them and it worked.”
McDonald had 13 points and teammate Rachel Cohen added 11 points.
“Since we don’t have height, we have speed,” Zucker said. “We have those guards that can get to the basket fast and it forces the defense to stay in. We’re then able to hit those (open) shots.”
Carmel graduated four starters after posting 15 wins last season and advancing to the Section 1 Class AA semifinals. The Rams have also dropped games to Kennedy and Arlington this season.
Murphy led the Rams with 12 points and was followed by Maegan Crawford’s 10 points.
“It’s been a little tough trying to get our (effort) started again but we’re going to get there,” Zwarych said. “We’re working very hard in practice and we’re going to try and carry it out in the games.”