When North Rockland came out playing a zone against No. 8 Scarsdale in its Class AA first-round playoff game on Friday, the Raiders’ bevy of shooters were nearly salivating. Scarsdale has a roster filled with knockdown 3-point artists, and floodgates were opened immediately.
“We are a very strong shooting team, and especially on our home court, we’re very confident with our shooting,” Scarsdale senior Shelby Zucker said. “To come out strong was very helpful for us.”
Scarsdale drained seven 3-pointers in the first half on its way to a convincing 78-55 win over the ninth-seeded Red Raiders. They sunk three 3s in a row on three consecutive possessions in the first quarter to go up by 10 points, and led by double digits the rest of the way.
“I’ve seen them play enough to know that they could do that,” North Rockland coach Kevin Metcalf said. “They’re a very good team that moves the ball well. We knew if we weathered that storm, we could be OK, but it just got away from us too quick.”
While Zucker has been the Raiders’ leading scorer all season, it was Abby McDonald who led the charge in the early going. She finished the first quarter with 11 points — including two 3s of her own — before Zucker caught fire in the second quarter. They each had 14 points at halftime.
“I love playing with Shelby,” said McDonald, who finished with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. “It’s really great to have someone else to balance it out. There’s not really one person that the other team can focus on; we have an entire bench of really great players, and that’s helpful to everyone.”
The key to Scarsdale’s hot shooting was ball movement. The Raiders finished with 22 assists, led by seven from point guard Alexis Kline.
“When playing against a zone, the best thing to do is move the ball as fast as you possibly can,” said Zucker, who finished with 24 points, six rebounds and four assists. “They couldn’t keep up with our ball movement, so by us moving the ball so fast, we were able to get wide-open shots.”
Next up for Scarsdale is a meeting at top-seeded Ossining in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
“They are a very good team; a very respected team,” Zucker said. “They do have a very good player in (UConn-bound) Saniya (Chong), as everyone knows, but I think if we come with the right mentality and right game plan, we have a chance to win.”