2009-02-13 / Sports

Riptides Display Court's Strength To Make Playoffs

The Rockaway Riptides The Rockaway Riptides The Riptide 11U basketball team played in the Aviator league that was comprised of tough competition featuring AAU teams from all parts of Queens.

The team has 9 players; Celeste Lynch, Emma Knox, Emma Michaels, Jenna Tipaldo, Kayla Kilgallen, Kim Sluyk, Meredith Connelly, Renee Simos and Serena Yannello.

The Riptides are a young 11-year old team. One third of the team turned 11- years old during the season. The team had three main goals in mind, giving the girls an opportunity to play, teach them, and most importantly having fun. All were accomplished.

The team struggled with a 1-2 record to start the season but the fourth game would be a defining moment. A brilliant defensive effort led the Riptides to victory as they held the opponent to under 10 points.

This game set the stage as it propelled the team on a four game winning streak. The girls took pride in their defense and we emerged with a run and gun style of play pressing full court. In a six game stretch the Riptides team held its opposition to less than 10 points four times, yielding 14 and 18 points in the other two.

As the scheduled toughened, three straight losses occurred and the team was again tested.

It set up the most exciting and gratifying team win, a 19-16 thrilling victory over the Shooting Stars to clinch a spot in the play-offs. The Riptides played about as perfect as a team could play in the first half. They played exceptional on defense, forcing turnovers and made a quick transition to offense and ran the fast break beautifully.

The game tightened in the second half and the Riptides held on after the Shooting Stars missed a 3 pointer with less than 10 seconds remaining, as we got the rebound and ran out the clock.

Simos praises the team for their talent and athletic ability. Game in and game out, the girls competed from the opening tip to the final buzzer. No matter what the score was there was no quit in this team.

Riptides Coach Chris Simos says he's coached many teams in the past and the team has been a privilege to work with. Simos said he was proud to be a part of the team and says it is an experience he will never forget.

Simos spoke to fellow coaches and referees and said the Riptide team had gotten a good reputation of being a tough bunch of Rockaway girls who play hard. Maureen Gigliello runs the Riptides program and we are grateful as she arranged practice time for all the girls. The Riptides would like to thank parents for the support given to them during the course of the season and allowing your daughters to play for the team.

A special thanks to assistant coaches Scott Michaels and Pete Yannello who both attended every practice and worked with the girls on developing their skills. Special thanks go to John Tipaldo for putting this all together.

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