300 Win Milestone For Tigers’ Crockett
One of the crowning achievements for Breezy Point native and Bishop Kearney head basketball coach Cathy Crockett took place last Friday night.
Her Lady Tigers played one of their most crisp and well-played efforts of the season for an 81-63 home victory over CHSAA divisional rival Bishop Loughlin. The win gave Crockett a magical 300 th victory in her 19 year high school varsity career at the school.
The win was another example of how well the Tigers, who gave a ceremony after the game honoring Crockett’s milestone, have done this season.
Offensively, the Tigers used not only their starting five but a deep bench to give the Lady Lions fits. Their motion offense was a factor early on and increased a small first quarter lead to a 14 point advantage in the second quarter.
Point guard Lisa Abitante, who scored 15 points, and made a dazzling spin and layup in the fourth quarter that was one of the highlights of the night.
“We planned this win out. We obviously wanted to win this one. We knew that today was an important game for us,” Abitante said.
Jill Brady’s outside shooting keyed the Tigers with 27 points but it was the ability of the entire bench who played that helped them put away a late Bishop Loughlin comeback. Caitlin McHugh and Michelle Kenel, who scored 8 points each, kept the Lions off balanced. Bishop Kearney improved their record this week to 15-5 overall, and second place with a 8-3 in the CHSAA Division I.
Maria Laterza, the junior center who notched 17 points and 14 rebounds, says that the win is important not only because it was her coach’s 300th but a milestone that validates how well they’ve played so far.
“It’s more meaningful because this team was coming out for us,” Laterza said after Loughlin only lost 44-42 in the first matchup this season.
“We’re in high spirits because she’s our coach and she did it. It’s happy to see it happened because she’s helped the program so much.”
Though she acknowledges the accomplishment of 300 wins is significant, Crockett says the credit should really be given to her team. It’s been the hard work from the start of training camp to the present that’s been huge part of their development as individuals and as a team.
“I told them that night I can get a milestone but I wanted to let them know that this team means so much to me because of their effort they put in,” Crockett says.
“That could not surpass any milestone I achieve as a coach. I thanked them for the effort they put, the chemistry and the hardwork they put in.”
Those traits and have an important trademark of all the teams who have played for Crockett since she first assumed the head coaching duties for the varsity in the 1987-1988 season.
“I’m really enjoying this season and that means more than any milestone. It was special because I got every kid to play. It meant more to me to do that. Sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Every kid should get he chance to play on the floor because they deserve to,” Crockett says.
They knew it. What they accomplished this season and the way they approach practice is way more superior than 300 wins. Its nice and a good feeling.”
Kerry O’Grady says Crockett was beneficial in keeping her on the team during the 1987-1988 campaign. After going through three coaches in successive seasons, Crockett added stability and structure that needed it according to O’Grady. They made the playoffs and graduated three players who went to Division I schools. O’Grady, who graduated and attended St. John’s University, was more than glad to help the program in 1995. She was asked by Crockett to return to the school and the team as an assistant coach.
“We had a good team. She’s dedicated and she worked hard and we never had that. When you have a different coach every year, you don’t have stability. When she came in, we needed that,” O’Grady said.
“She just has a lot more experience now but she works hard and she really loves the game. When you’re here day after day, she works us hard. We don’t realize how much we worked hard and when we leave Kearney and come back, we say wow. We really appreciate it.”
Crockett does not compare or says which team any of her past teams could be better or worse. She values every team and every player who has passed through the halls and the gymnasium of Bishop Kearney. Her teams have made the playoffs in 17 of the 19 seasons.
“Success is determined by effort. If you give 100% day in and day out, you can’t stop that success. Nothing can stop it.”