White Plains Winning Streak Ends With a Loss at Roy C. Ketcham

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A couple of lengthy scoring droughts, serious foul trouble and a polished senior star on the floor for the opposing team proved to be too much for the White Plains girls’ basketball team to overcome last Wednesday evening.

White Plains junior guard Aliya Mciver gets set to pass the ball in the second half of last Wednesday’s game at Roy C. Ketcham.

In a showdown of two of the top challengers for a Class AA championship this season, it was the host Roy C. Ketcham Indians who took command in the fourth quarter en route to a 50-38 victory. Cali Chiocchi calmly orchestrated the RCK offense and finished with a game-high 26 points as the Indians improved to 8-2 and put an end to the Tigers’ six-game winning streak.

“I knew she was solid,” said White Plains head coach Ben Carter about the Pace-bound floor leader for Ketcham. “She’s poised and kind of like calm with the basketball. Usually teams get rattled, but she didn’t get rattled. When you’ve got that mindset, and you’re that type of leader, you get good things and that’s what happened with Ketcham.”

The Tigers, now 9-4, were led by Aliya Mciver’s 15 points, nine rebounds and four steals. But the junior star was whistled for her fourth foul just 20 seconds into the fourth quarter when White Plains was still within two points of Ketcham. She wound up fouling out with 6:58 still on the clock on a call that earned her coach a technical foul.

Chiocchi made both of the free throws, starting a 10-0 RCK burst that turned a 34-33 edge into an 11-point cushion with just 4:45 to go. Back-to-back baskets from India Newman and Sequoia Layne brought the Tigers back within seven points with 2:25 left, but Chiocchi’s lefty layup 40 seconds later all but sealed the outcome.

“Some games, you know, we get to play physical, both teams, and then today I just felt foul trouble kind of got to them mentally,” said Carter of his team. “My two top players, actually my three top players, were in foul trouble.”

Sequoia Layne of White Plains sends up a shot in the fourth quarter of the Tigers’ showdown game at RCK.

White Plains never trailed in the game’s opening quarter. Mciver connected on a 3-pointer from the right corner just 14 seconds in and the Tiger lead grew to 5-0 when Anneliese Reggio scored on a layup off a perfect feed from Mciver, who wound up with nine points in the period. A fast-break layup by Capri Demara with 20 seconds left gave the Tigers their largest lead of the night, 15-9, heading to the second quarter.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, their hot start didn’t last. They missed all 14 of their shot attempts in the second quarter and were kept off the scoreboard until Ineiva Plata made a pair of free throws with just 49 seconds left in the half. Meanwhile, Ketcham’s Chiocchi was outstanding, scoring five baskets in the period and accounting for all 11 of her team’s points. At halftime, RCK had a 20-17 advantage.

“We just have to pick it up with regards to how we can play,” said Carter, asked about the Tigers’ second-quarter woes.

“Moving the ball, being in the right spot, attacking the gaps. So I felt like we weren’t mentally engaged to do it. And when time went by, Ketcham caught their groove and we couldn’t bounce back from it.”

The second half began with Chiocchi, who was joined by four sophomores in the starting lineup, picking up right where she had left off, scoring on a layup just seven seconds into the third quarter. But the Tigers responded with six straight points as Mciver made a 3-pointer, Demara rattled in a 15-foot baseline jumper and Layne made one of two free throws.

The Tigers’ Ineivi Plata drives the right baseline past Ketcham’s Nia Rencher in last week’s game won by the host Indians.

White Plains was still hanging onto a five-point lead midway through the quarter after Mciver got a step on Chiocchi and then slipped past two other defenders in the lane for a layup. All the momentum began to change, though, when the Indians’ Jenny Nardelli nailed a 3-pointer from the left elbow. It was the start of a 19-3 RCK run that bridged the third and fourth quarters and left the Tigers facing an 11-point deficit with their best player now seated on the bench after fouling out.

“I know we’ve been playing well and teams they’ve been prepared to come at us,” said Carter. “And I’m trying to get my young team to know that. Like teams are not gonna just come in and lay down. So it’s got to be a fight for 32 minutes and taking care of the right things.”

The Tigers did manage to start a new winning streak as they closed their week with a 72-38 home rout of Port Chester on Friday, led by Plata’s 23 points, eight steals and six rebounds. Mciver added 17 points and five assists for White Plains, which doesn’t play again until next Monday.

According to Carter, the post-game message to his players was pretty simple after they fell to the Indians. “We’ve gotta get back on track. You’ve gotta know that teams are coming after you. You’ve been doing well, you’ve got a tough schedule, you’ve beaten some top teams. And, you know, they’re watching you and they’re not coming to lay down. So we’ve gotta be on our ‘A’ game.”


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