Wildcats Topple Gryphons in See-Saw Tussle, 53-39

In a regular season finale February 16 that was three games in one, Rye Country Day School defeated visiting Holy Child 53-39.

Less a basketball game than a rollercoaster ride, the game saw the homestanding Wildcats jump out to a 22-9 lead after nine minutes, with Carolyn Binder and Kim McKoy scoring 18 between them. When Binder wasn’t hitting threes over the Gryphons’ man-to-man defense, McKoy was pouring in layups, often after getting her own rebound.


Meanwhile, Stephanie Taylor did yeoman work for Holy Child, keeping her side from being blown out of the gym. The center finished the game with 14 points. (It was quite a day for Taylor, who at tip-off time learned she’d been early-accepted to Trinity.)

Although the Gryphons threw in some half-court pressing, Rye Country Day widened their lead to 32-15 by halftime. But the second stanza was a different story, after HC head coach Mike Duignan gave what must have been one of the great halftime speeches in basketball history.

Coming out in a variety of half-court, three-quarter, and full-court man-to-man presses, the Gryphons made the Wildcats play at a faster tempo than they could handle. Binder, who’d been on fire, turned cold, and Holy Child had the see-saw all their way, tying things up at 32-all. During a timeout, Duignan could be heard telling his players, “Man, is this fun!”

Across the way, RCDS head coach Bob TeCarr – who’s been at it for 46 years and has seen it all – was rallying his charges. McKoy hit the second of two free throws after eight and a half minutes had gone by, ending the Wildcats’ drought.

“The same thing happened to us against Hackley,” TeCarr said afterwards. “We were sailing along, and then we got flustered, scoring only seven points the whole second half.”

This time, the tilt tilted back the home team’s way, as McKoy continued her board work, Binder regained her touch, finishing with a game-high 29, and Tara Berger chipped in with timely baskets.

The final margin of 14 points in no way summed up the exciting nature of the game.

“I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of the girls, “ said Duignan. “They never gave up.”

Up next for both teams is the FAA tournament, which begins next week.

— Mitch Silver

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