Throughout Monday's contest against visiting Nanuet, Clarkstown South girls basketball coach Jennifer Chiera-Frank could be heard repeatedly yelling the question, "What's our goal?"
When the final buzzer sounded, the Vikings had achieved their goal.
Clarkstown South defeated Nanuet 60-39, but it was not the victory alone that was the goal of the Vikings.
"We had a goal defensively to get defensive stops and keep (Nanuet) under 40 (points)," Chiera-Frank said. "I'm a big advocate of defense creating offense, so I was hoping that would pick up (Clarkstown South's) energy a little bit."
Standout junior forward Laura Castaldo turned in a stellar performance on both ends of the court for the Vikings, leading all players with 21 points and 16 rebounds in the win.
"I thought we started off a little bit slow, but we got comfortable and started playing really well and playing as a team," said Castaldo, who had already recorded a double-double before halftime with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Golden Knights made adjustments on Castaldo in the second half, limiting her to just six points, but where one Viking got shut down, another stepped up.
Despite battling some breakaway layup woes in the first half, senior guard Allison Haugh scored 12 of her 19 points in the second half, adding four steals on the defensive side.
"I said to her, 'Welcome back!' because for the first couple of games, she's been kind of under the radar," Chiera-Frank said.
"It was key that happened. We said at halftime that they were going to try and shut Laura down. ... It was perfect timing for (Allison)."
"We rushed a little bit in the beginning," Haugh said of the Vikings' slow start. "Personally, I missed a lot of layups, but we all missed some easy shots."
One of the standout factors in the game was the quality of shots taken. The Vikings took several high-percentage shots, whereas the Golden Knights struggled to work the ball for any clear looks.
"We're going to play defense hard," Castaldo said. "We want (opponents) to have to dribble the ball, and we're going to be up on you for all 30 seconds on the shot clock."
Using smart defense and aggressive offense, the Vikings were able to get to the free-throw line for 22 shots (12 of 13 in the second half), while the Golden Knights took just seven shots from the foul line.
Nanuet was led by Thersea Jelalian, who scored 11 points, with teammate Alexa Amalbert right behind her with 10 points.