Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Demarest Wins Holiday Opener

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Demarest Wins Holiday Opener

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP -- The Demarest girls basketball program has come a long way in two seasons under Lindsay Steffner, so much so that the Norsewomen now have to deal with expectations.

"We've been building, building, building," Steffner said Saturday after the Norsewomen, No. 20 in The Record preseason girls basketball Top 25, opened the Westwood Holiday Tournament with a 60- 37 win over Midland Park. "Now we have to go out and beat good teams. We can't say, 'What if?' anymore."

Demarest (3-0), coming off a 17-win season, is young without a lot of size or depth. The Norsewomen lost forward Mackenzie Press to a season-ending knee injury two weeks before the season started, so Steffner, one of the bright young coaches in North Jersey, has retooled the lineup to take advantage of their speed and quickness.

And there was plenty of that on display against the Panthers (2- 3). Junior guard/forward Veronica Corcoran scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while guard Meghan Lewis, the only senior, scored 18 points, including three three-pointers.

The Norsewomen were at their best in the second quarter, opening with a 15-0 run to take a 29-15 lead. Their speed seemed to rattle a Midland Park team breaking in a lot of underclassmen, and they did some nice work defensively.

"We want to be upbeat, running up and down fast," Lewis said. "That's what we can do. That's what we like to do."

Midland Park, one of North Jersey's premier Group 1 teams in recent seasons, is dealing with some injury issues of its own. Veronica Pantale, perhaps its best player, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first scrimmage, and highly-touted freshman guard Chloe Kasbarian, who scored 22 points in her first high school game against Emerson, is also hurt and out indefinitely.

The Panthers did get a strong effort from freshman forward Sophia Hansen (10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots) and junior guard Thalia Gahlam scored 12 points. …

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