Stuyvesant’s Girls’ Basketball Team’s Stagnant Offense Leads to Pivotal Loss

Stuyvesant’s Girls’ basketball team was eliminated from regular season first place after loss to Millennium High School.

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It was a make or break moment in the game. Going into the fourth quarter, Stuyvesant needed to make a run to put themselves back in the game. They raced up the court, hoping to get a good shot and put the game in their control. They put up a difficult, contested shot and hit the back of the iron, harmlessly bouncing off the rim and sending Millennium on their way to a victory.

Coming off one of its toughest stretches of the season and back-to-back games, Stuyvesant’s girls’ basketball team fell to Millennium High School 40-28 on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier in the week, they had defeated Bayard at home by a score of 57-42. This was an impressive win, as Bayard entered the game with a record of 8-4 but fell to 8-5 after the loss. Stuyvesant’s inconsistent results have a lot to do with deficiencies in the offensive side of their game, as they limited their opponents to about 20 points below their season average. However, the offense seemed stagnant throughout the game, and unlike prior games, the passes were often deflected or intercepted, leading to turnovers and easy Millennium chances on the other end. After the game, coach Miller remarked on his team’s offense. He said that they were “not getting cutters to the basket,” forcing them to take difficult shots.

Coach Miller also suggested that a mental block may have led to the defeat. These two teams are very familiar with and know each other very well through tournaments, most of which Millennium had won. In addition, they are competing for the top of their division and in the playoffs annually. “We get psyched out when we play them,” noted Coach Miller, while also emphasizing the team’s resilience.

Stuyvesant was trailing 23-12 at the halftime break. After the third quarter, with Stuyvesant trailing by 11, Coach Miller attempted to fire up his team to cut their deficit and overtake Millennium as the clock wound down. However, Coach Miller’s pep talk was matched by Millennium, as they came out of the quarter break with great energy, extending their lead before Stuyvesant brought it back to 12 in the closing seconds. In key possessions, Stuyvesant was forced to take difficult, contested shots after not getting anything going in their offensive sets.

Though Stuyvesant played solid team defense throughout the game, down the stretch, they let Millennium's leading scorer Isabella Park takeover, knocking three triples to put Millennium out of reach. Co-captain Alexandra Archer told us after the game that “Usually if there is one strong player, we usually play a box-and-one,” a tactic they will look to incorporate more often in the future. Though not all teams have tremendous shooters like Millennium, in order for Stuyvesant to compete and make a deep run in the playoffs, the team must do a better job closing out shooters, protecting the paint, and getting easy steals on defense. This will be helping them get out in transition and scoring easy baskets instead of having to score in the half-court offense.

Stuyvesant's leading scorer, Talia Kirshenbaum, was forced to sub out of the game twice because of incidental elbows to the face. However, she still managed to put up 12 points, exemplifying the team’s resilience and toughness. The game threatened to become a blowout on a few occasions, but Stuyvesant kept fighting back to keep the deficit within reach.

With this loss, Stuyvesant fell to 7-5 on the season, still leaving them in a good position for the playoffs, with games against School of The Future and Seward Park at home and away, respectively. If they can perform in these last two games, they have a chance to get themselves in an even better position to gain momentum before the playoffs begin. With the loss, however, Stuyvesant is mathematically eliminated from first place contention, and it will look to hold onto second place in the division.