Many basketball fans today tend to be very disappointed by the proliferation of low scoring games. Over the last ten years, offensive output has been diminished in part due to a leak of fundamental execution however it can also be attributed primarily to a shift in strategic philosophy 'the best offense is a good defense'. The strategic focus of the full court press proved to be the key ingredient in serving up a victory for the Valley Stream Central Eagles. Their pressure defense caused the hometown Vikings to misfire on inbound passes and prevented interior routes down the lanes for easy conversions. This along with good inside maneuverability forced the Vikings to a subsequent fall, 77-67.
Each side began with its conventional approach by attempting to establish a motion offense while keeping the defense guessing. Port displayed proficient maneuverability by distributing the ball fluidly to its main guns, Dumpson, Ross, Ferrucci, and Mulqueen. Some good interior passing routes and kick-outs to Ross and Mulqueen gave the Vikings an 18-15 first quarter lead. The second quarter mimicked and soon surpassed Port's first quarter effort when they went on a 15-6 run. The club was galvanized by a Dumpson steal and coast-to-coast effort along with a rebound and pull-back supplemented by Ross. The Eagles gathered their composure and offset a major disaster by making a few steals and lay-ups of their own. The Vikings appeared to flying with a 38-31 half-time lead, but the first half didn't tell the whole story.
In most contests, there are omens that can reveal an outcome based on a critical transition a costly turn of events. In the case of the Vikings, it was the first half injury to Angela Ferrucci that gave the Vikings an ominous view of their outcome. Ferrucci appeared to sprain his ankle via a misstep down on the low post. His absence from the second half put the Vikings into an abysmal hole, as they weren't able to put a sizable body in the paint at either end of the court. The Eagles were able to take more chances on offense with interior lane production and with no low post presence to counter it the Vikings were at a loss to stop the bleeding. The Eagles went on a 17-4 run that compelled Port to look to the perimeter game.
This subsequent attack proved to be fruitless because the Vikings invariably only had one good look at the basket from the outside. The Eagle defense could afford to take greater risks on the press as Port was only getting one shot per possession. In the case of an overthrow (of which I counted four in the contest) Port couldn't even facilitate a single shot on a given drive. A clamp down on 'D' and relentless board play by the Eagles confused and confounded the Vikings resolve. Bright spots for the local boys included Ross finishing with 19, Dumpson finishing with 18, and Mandelkern with 12. A full court commitment was there, just not a full court contingent.