Like many people, Michael Mei is not too fond of Mondays. Well, maybe not all Mondays, but Monday, Jan. 7, in particular, was not one of Mei’s favorites.
Sure, the Bronx Science girls basketball coach saw his team post a victory over Stevenson. But he was in no way impressed with how his Wolverines went about their business in that win.
“We started the week ugly,” Mei said. “It was a very, very sloppily played game, and I let the girls have it.”
So how did his Wolverines respond to Mei’s post-game riot act reading? By rolling to two more impressive victories to cap a 3-0 week as Bronx Science drubbed both Columbus and Lehman to run their record to 9-2 in the Bronx A South Division.
“To their credit they were able to rebound on very quickly” the rest of the week, Mei said, following the Wolverines’ 52-25 thrashing of Lehman. “They cleaned up their execution and limited the turnovers. The girls played well.”
After their 50-36 win over Stevenson and a 54-38 victory over Columbus, the Wolverines had run their record to 5-0 against opponents from the Bronx A North Division this season. And going up against a Lehman team that came into the game toting a hefty 8-2 mark, a close contest was expected. But perhaps still hearing Mei’s early-week criticism ringing in their ears, the Wolverines quickly went to work and put the Lions away early.
Science closed the first quarter up, 14-4 and led at halftime 39-11 and what was thought to be a crucial out-of-division test for the Wolverines had turned into a laugher. With the stellar sophomore tandem of Sarang West (17 points) and Carolina Lopez (13) working their usual magic, Lehman got no closer than 22 points after halftime as Science upped its record against its rival division to 6-0.
“I had no idea we did that,” West said of Science’s dominance against the Bronx A North. “I guess it feels nice. A win is a win, so we’ll take it.”
It was the Wolverines’ staunch defense that was credited for the win versus Lehman as they forced countless turnovers, resulting in easy points for the Wolverines.
“They would bring (the ball) up and we’d have a trap or a steal on almost every single play, and then it would end in a layup,” Lopez said. It was a defensive performance that pleased Mei after the Lehman victory.
“The girls were making better reads,” Mei said. “They’re understanding where to be and how to anticipate passes. They’re just reading better. We had a lot of the turnovers today that we would miss last week and in the first half of the season. But they’re doing a better job recognizing where these balls are going to go, and just doing a better job of making plays on defense.”
But, of course, no coach is ever totally satisfied with his team’s performance, and Mei was no different as he lamented the Wolverines’ play when the game was already all but decided.
“We kind of took our foot off the gas pedal in the second half and they are going to have to learn not to do that and prevent themselves from getting too comfortable,” Mei said. “We can’t have second halves like that, ever. Period.”
It’s a pretty safe bet the Wolverines will not take their collective feet off the gas pedal this week as they face a pair of teams in Morris and Walton which come in with a combined 4-21 record. So one can all but pencil in two more wins for Science this week.
The challenge for Bronx Science — one both Mei and his Wolverines are looking forward to — is the return match with Clinton on Jan. 17 as the Lady Governors are responsible for one of Science’s two losses this season.
“That’s going to be a big one,” Mei said. “You know these girls want that game badly. I tell them never look ahead, but there’s only so much you can do. Everybody knows we shouldn’t have lost that first one, and we want it back.”
Both Lopez and West are looking at the game as a case of unfinished business.
“It’s a revenge game,” Lopez said. “We want that game.”
“I definitely feel like now that everybody has an idea of what they have to do now,” West added, “I think we have a very good chance of beating them this time.”