RYE – Through the first half in Rye’s Section 1 quarterfinal game against Pearl River, Katie Popp was quiet.
But after some halftime adjustments, the sophomore guard came through in a big way, scoring Rye’s opening five points in the third quarter and paving the way for a 54-42 win over the visiting Pirates on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals at the County Center for a second straight season.
“During halftime, we all got really hyped up and talked it over and how we were going to turn things on,” Popp said. “We were able to shut them down defensively, and that’s how we really won this game.”
The two teams exchanged baskets in the first half, with Rye leading 30-24 at the end of the second quarter. The Garnets got three 3-pointers from junior guard Taylor Maurer, while Pearl River junior wing Lauren Gallagher worked the inside for 10 points.
“My teammates were getting me really good passes from either a skip or if the defenders went over to them, so I had some pretty open looks,” Maurer said. “I had to do my job and knock them down.”
After Pearl River senior guard Emma Daly hit a jumper to cut the lead to four to open the third quarter, Maurer responded back with drive to put the Garnets back up 32-26.
Popp followed that up with a 3-pointer, and on the next Pearl River possession, forced a turnover and finished on a lay-up to give Rye an 11-point lead.
Rye went cold after that, only scoring two more points in the quarter, but the Garnets held Pearl River to only four more points in the quarter. The Pirates were unable to cut the deficit toless than nine the rest of the way.
Popp finished with 17 points, Maurer had 14, including four 3-pointers, and Ali Imam had 10 points off the bench. For Pearl River, Daly had a game-high 20 points, while Gallagher finished with 12 points.
“I couldn’t have asked anything better from my teammates or my coaches,” Daly, who is committed to St. Anselm for next year, said. “It’s been an amazing year and everyone gave one hundred percent, in this game and every game.”
Rye will take on Peekskill in the semifinals on Thursday at 3 p.m. The Red Devils are coming off of a 64-55 win over Somers.
“We’re looking for a lot of tough competition,” Popp said. “We know that if we play as a team, we play great defense, we can win the whole thing.”