Basketball Preview 12-30-2021

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2021-22 HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS PREVIEW December 30, 2021

PROSPECTS for the

‘21- 22

SEASON

25 Schools MALVERNE’S

DEANDRE’ BLAGROVE

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HEWLETT’S

RILEY WEISS Hit the harDwood E


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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

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2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball ball Preview

TEAM INDEX Baldwin Bruins ................................ 5 Calhoun Colts (Bellmore-Merrick) ... 6 Carey Seahawks (Franklin Square) . 7 Clarke Rams (Westbury) ................ 8 East Meadow Jets ........................ 10 East Rockaway Rocks................... 11 Elmont Spartans .......................... 12 Freeport Red Devils ...................... 14 Hewlett Bulldogs .......................... 15 Kennedy Cougars (Bellmore-Merrick) ....................... 16 Lawrence Golden Tornadoes ......... 18 Long Beach Marines..................... 19 Lynbrook Owls .............................. 25 MacArthur Generals ..................... 27 Malverne Mules ............................ 28 Mepham Pirates (Bellmore-Merrick) ....................... 29 Oceanside Sailors ........................ 31 Seaford Vikings ............................ 33 Sewanhaka Indians (Floral Park)... 34 South Side Cyclones (Rockville Centre) ......................... 36 Valley Stream Central Eagles ........ 37 Valley Stream North Spartans ...... 38 Valley Stream South Falcons ........ 39 Wantagh Warriors ......................... 41 West Hempstead Rams ................ 42

Basketball Preview A special advertising supplement to the Herald Community Newspapers

Publisher STUART RICHNER Executive Editor SCOTT BRINTON Vice President of Sales RHONDA GLICKMAN Section Editor TONY BELLISSIMO Creative Director Editorial Designer JEFFREY A. NEGRIN Photo Editor CHRISTINA DALY Page Editor JEFF BESSEN Contributing Sportswriters TONY BELLISSIMO ANDREW COEN JAMIE DEJONG BRIAN KACHARABA DAVID WEINGRAD GARRETT URIBE Dallyssha Moreno, Baldwin High School Photo by Jeff Wilson ON THE COVER

Baldwin has won seven straight Nassau County Class AA titles.

Photo by Jeff Wilson

Cover Design - Jeffrey A. Negrin Photos - Jeff Wilson Cover Photos - DeAndre’ Blagrove (Malverne) and Riley Weiss (Hewlett)

Basketball Preview is an advertising supplement to the Herald Community Newspapers. Copyright © 2021 Richner Communications, Inc. Published by Richner Communications, Inc. 2 Endo Blvd., Garden City, NY 11530 (516) 569-4000 • www.ilherald.com

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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

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2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

BALDWIN Bruins prepare to defend title By TONY BELLISSIMO

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oming off a Nassau Class AA boys’ basketball championship in the 2019-2020 campaign, Baldwin played just four games last winter after it was forced to quarantine following a Covid outbreak on an opposing team it faced. “Last season was a tough sell,” Bruins head coach Darius Burton said. “It wasn’t anywhere near the experience we wanted the younger players to get. But we made the best of the summer and the kids have been working hard.”

Katelyn Simpson

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Baldwin is once again expected to contend for a county title and beyond, albeit Burton admitted it’s hard to gauge what the other 14 Class AA schools bring to the table. “Some teams had shortened seasons like us and others didn’t have kids play,” he said. The Bruins will feature a senior-oriented group but have no returning starters. Burton plans to go with a double-headed look at point guard for the first time in nearly a decade, featuring seniors Jamir Stewart and Michael Hall in the backcourt. “The last time we used two point guards was in 2011-2012 when we went upstate,” Burton noted. Stewart is the only third-year varsity performer on the roster and was part of the county championship run as a sophomore role player. “Jamir can really shoot and score, and he’s also unselfish,” Burton said. “Michael is the same type of player who likes to get into the lane.” In the frontcourt, senior center Jacob Oka has the ability to dominate in the paint but also has shooting range. He stood out during the opening week of practice, Burton said. Senior forward Gerrard Beaubrun is all energy and effort and can make things happen in transition. Senior forward Dave Hepburn is a perimeter threat who’ll keep defenses honest in half-court sets. Up from JV, juniors Jaylen Brown and Joshua Petion will look to make their presence felt at the next level. LADY BRUINS AIM FOR NO. 8 In search of an eighth consecutive county championship, Baldwin girls’ basketball takes the court with heavy hearts following the death of longtime varsity assistant coach Anthony Bolden during the offseason. Bolden will be honored in many ways, head coach Tom Catapano said, in-

cluding leaving the first chair on the bench vacant in his memory. The Lady Bruins won all six games they played last season and will try to maintain dominance in Nassau Class AA with a young roster led by juniors Dallyssha Moreno and Katelyn Simpson. “Last season was tough on the seniors because we had no playoffs and as juniors they had the Long Island championship cancelled by Covid a day before the game,” Catapano said. “We were grateful to play at all last winter and just tried to enjoy each other’s company during the month we had together.” Moreno, a forward who can also do damage from the outside, made an impact during the 2019-20 county title run and is a two-time All-County selection. “She has all the tools and is already getting a bunch of D-1 looks,” Catapano said. “We’re demanding a lot of her and she should have a monster season.” Simpson, who like Moreno enters her fourth varsity campaign, is a first-year starter but brings strong two-way skills, Catapano said. “Katelyn is a great passer who can also score and will get the toughest defensive assignment,” he said. Sophomore Renelle Grannum and freshman Payton Dulin will also start in the backcourt. Grannum can burn defenses with her perimeter shooting, while Dulin is a combo guard with a “tremendous amount of upside,” Catapano said. Senior guard Jada Gayle brings a large dose of energy. Senior Paris Nosworthy is a returning starting forward who likes to drive to the basket and draw fouls. She’s also an in-yourface defender. Senior Sydney Karl-Otto is another key piece to the frontcourt.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Jamir Stewart

Schedule

BOYS MATT GUILFOYLE December

15 18 22

@ V.S. Central Hicksville @ Plainview

6:30 p.m. 4:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 4 11 13 18 21 29

Herricks @ East Meadow Westbury V.S, Central @ Hicksville Plainview

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.

February 1 7 9

@ Herricks @ Westbury East Maadow

7:00 p.m. 6:15 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 15 18 22

V.S. Central @ Hicksville Plainview

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 4 11 15 18 21 29

@ Herricks East Meadow @ Westbury @ V.S, Central Hicksville @ Plainview

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

February 1 7 9

Herricks Westbury @ East Maadow

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

Photos by Jeff Wilson

December 30, 2021 — 5


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

CALHOUN Colts strive for a playoff run By TONY BELLISSIMO

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aking a considerable run in the Nassau boys’ basketball playoffs is a goal for the Colts, who are no strangers to the postseason under head coach Jay Kreutzberger. Calhoun won 37 games over three seasons prior to last winter’s pandemic-shortened 3-5 campaign and will look to return to its successful ways in what appears to be the toughest conference in the county on paper. The Colts will tangle with the likes of defending

Margaret Casimano

6 — December 30, 2021

Class A champion Elmont, Sewanhaka and Carey. “We had a choppy start with some injuries, but hopefully nothing that’ll linger and we’ll find our way,” Kruetzberger said. “We’re talented and physically strong, so we should hold our own on the boards and our seniors will lead the offense.” It was no coincidence Calhoun came up short in each of its last four games last season when Chris Stokel (25 points per game) was sidelined by a wrist injury. Stokel enters his fourth varsity campaign and will run the point as well as serve as the shooting guard, as he and Chris Zaveckas are interchangeable parts. “They have great chemistry,” Kreutzberger said of the senior tandem who’ll lead a backcourt that includes junior Matt Kalfas, a lefty playmaker and returning starter, and senior Matthew Edouard, who is quick with a high motor. Stokel, the coach noted, elevates everyone else’s game with his vision, passing, and ability to create. “The ball is on a string when Chris has possession,” Kreutzberger said. Zaveckas is a smart player who can bring the ball up the floor and like Stokel, make significant noise at both ends. “He really filled out his skill set,” Kreutzberger said. Senior center Bryan Pena has a soft touch around the rim and can block shots, and senior forward Brian Matalevich is a fierce competitor who brings all the intangibles. Senior Chris Amaya will also be a factor up front. COLTS EMBARK ON PLAYOFF MISSION After guiding a senior-laden team to a 6-2 record, capped by a four-game win streak, in his first season as Calhoun’s head coach, Dan Catapano is counting on a

hard-working group of returnees to snap a playoff drought dating back to the 2017-2018 campaign. “We had 10 seniors who helped the program turn a corner,” Catapano said. “It was a large group to lose, but we have a nice core of experienced kids returning and they haven’t stopped working since last season ended.” To reach their main goal, the Colts will need to hold their own in a challenging conference that includes recent county champions Sewanhaka and Elmont, in addition to Garden City. “It’s a tough schedule,” Catapano said. “We have an athletic, close-knit group that has its eyes on the playoffs.” Senior center Holly DiPalo enters her fourth varsity season and is a leader on the court in many ways, Catapano said. “Holly gets up and down the floor well, has a nice elbow jumper and is strong on free throws,” he said. “She’s capable of putting up double digits in points and rebounds.” Junior Margaret Casimano can play forward or guard and can stretch the defense as an outside shooter and also provide rebounding. She’s being counted on to boost her scoring after chipping in a consistent 5.5 points per game last winter. Senior point guard Gabby Hanellin will be leaned upon to not only protect the ball and distribute, but also score. “She’s battled some injuries that are hopefully behind her,” Catapano said. “She’s worked to get back.” Junior Mia Licari and senior Olivia Perrone will spearhead the defensive pressure and look to create turnovers. Both are guards with varsity experience and play with a high level of intensity, the coach noted. Sophomore Ashleigh Coyne is another backcourt talent with a high basketball IQ and drives to the basket.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Chris Zaveckas

Schedule BOYS December 14 16 21

Garden City @ Carey Elmont

7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 5 7 11 18 22 28

@ Glen Cove @ Roslyn @ Sewanhaka @ Garden City Carey @ Elmont

7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m. 1:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

February 2 4 8

Glen Cove Roslyn Sewanhaka

7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 17 21

@ Garden City Carey @ Elmont

5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

January 4 8 11 19 22 27

Glen Cove @ Roslyn Sewanhaka Garden City @ Carey Elmont

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8

@ Glen Cove Roslyn @ Sewanhaka

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

Photos by Ron Manfredi HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

CAREY Seahawks crank up the pressure By GARRETT D. URIBE

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he Seahawks return to Nassau Conference A2 at the start of a new team cycle – having graduated seven seniors this summer and all of last season’s starters, including the league’s second-leading scorer Chris Toscano and fellow All-Conference honoree James Cosgrove. Carey comes off its best season thus far under fifth-year head coach Steve Savino, going 7-1 in A2 – its only loss coming against undefeated league rival Elmont, which also stopped the Seahawks’ last playoff bid in the second round before taking the Nassau Class A title in 2019-20. With four returning seniors and a junior up from JV set to start, Carey has no plans to fool with the system that yielded the league’s top defense and its No. 2 offense. “No change, nothing new at all,” Savino said. “Doing what we always do. We like to press, like to try to generate points from pressure. We play good, hard defense.” Swiss army senior Amoi Charles will start off with the keys, toggling between front- and backcourt duties, while high-upside junior Nick Broas takes over at small forward and sharpshooting senior Alex Amache starts at off guard. “Amoi can play any position on the court and does it well,” Savino said. “He handles the ball and shoots very well, plays good defense and rebounds very good. Nick’s a very hard-working player. He can shoot the ball very well, and handles the ball very well. Alex can shoot the ball and play excellent defense.” Guards Jayden McLeod and Ryan Noonan will start or see heavy rotation, while fellow senior Ryan Degnan starts at power forward. The Seahawks will tangle TO ADVERTISE CALL 516-569-4000

with Elmont, Calhoun, Glen Cove, Sewanhaka, Roslyn and Garden City in conference play. “The players are very hardworking and they want to learn,” Savino said. “Our goal is always to qualify for the playoffs. That’s what we’re doing with this team, and we’ll see what happens. SEAHAWKS APPEAR ON THE RISE If Caylee DeMeo’s career trajectory simply proceeds on track, the general lift imparted by the junior’s rise could well be sufficient to float Carey past the .500 threshold. The All-County point guard led Conference A2 in spring with 14.4 points per game as a second-year starter, while the Seahawks finished 2-5. Factor in expected gains this winter from All-Conference sophomore Valentina Falagna (6.7 ppg) and the signs of an impending breakthrough become unambiguous for Carey – which posted as many league wins (3-9 A2) in its last full season, 201920, as it had total victories across the two preceding campaigns (3-34). “I’ve been coaching here, at various levels, for 21 years,” said third-year head coach Anthony Turco, whose club returned to A2 action Dec. 14 at home against Elmont. “This is the first time since I’ve been head coach that I feel we’ll be able to match up and game-plan against every team.” Retaining some aspects of last season’s run and gun, Carey looks to step up its halfcourt game, processing chiefly through DeMeo and small forward Falagna, with junior Rose Castronovo set to snipe as the off guard and freshman Leila Paz as her understudy.

“Caylee handles well and she’s a decent shooter,” Turco said. “Valentina’s very good from the foul line and below. We’re hoping for 12 or 14 points a game from her. Rose is a good shooter. Leila has a good handle. She’ll eventually get into the lineup.” Guard Gianna Burke is tapped as the Seahawks’ lone senior starter, while junior Brianna Suarez-Oubina gets the nod at forward. “Last year we were young all over the place,” Turco said. “It was important for us to get varsity experience. I think we can now match up against any style, fast or slow. I’m real pleased with how we’re doing things.”

Caylee Demeo

Schedule

BOYS December 14 16 21

@ Elmont Calhoun @ Glen Cove

4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 5 11 14 19 22 28

Sewanhaka @ Roslyn Garden City Elmont @ Calhoun Glen Cove

4:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 4:45 p.m. 4:30 p.m. 1:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

February 2 8 11

@ Sewanhaka Roslyn @ Garden City

4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m.

14 17 21

Elmont @ Calhoun Glen Cove

4:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

GIRLS December Nick Broas

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

January 5 11 14 19 22 28

@ Sewanhaka Roslyn @ Garden City @ Elmont Calhoun @ Glen Cove

4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 1 8 11

Sewanhaka @ Roslyn Garden City

4:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 4:45 p.m.

Photos by Brian Ballweg

December 30, 2021 — 7


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

CLARKE Experience key to Rams’ success By BRIAN KACHARABA

C

larke boys’ basketball head coach Joe Hasbrouck used last winter’s abbreviated schedule to call up the sophomores from the JV team and give them their first taste of varsity hoops. There were growing pains that resulted in a 2-6 record, but that experience could pay dividends this season. After losing their first five games, the Rams showed a possible glimpse of the future by winning two of the last three contests to give the boys some confidence heading into the offseason. Eleven of the 13 players on this year’s team are juniors, in addition to just two seniors. “I, maybe, unfairly threw them into the fire with no playoffs [last season],” Hasbrouck admitted. “But in my mind, it was a perfect situation to just get them playing at the speed of the varsity level and the physicality of it all. For the most part, they’re better off with it.” Leading the way was junior James Desimone, who was the 24th-best scorer on Long Island last season with a 20.6 scoring average. His netted 35 points against Seaford on Feb. 13 and ended his season on a high note with 31 in a 55-43 win at West Hempstead. “He’s going to be the real motor for our offense this year,” Hasbrouck said. “He’s an easy kid to coach. I’m hoping he can take a step forward from where he was last year.” Hasbrouck is hoping to get secondary scoring from junior Tammyson Emile and senior transfer Brian Richard, who returned to the district after a stint at Holy Trinity. Jack Hollywood is a tough finisher in transition and center Jason Goetz improved his footwork from

8 — December 30, 2021

last season and can also take a step forward this season, according to Hasbrouck. Hasbrouck said that bruising power forward Zeak Mercado and “super athletic” Jonathan Segura will also see plenty of minutes. RAMS HOPE TO REGAIN DEFENSIVE MOJO Clarke’s girls’ team has endured some peaks and valleys in recent seasons. They snapped a 15-year playoff drought in 2019 and jumped out to an 11-5 start the following season before losing eight straight games, including all five last winter. Head coach Shaun Fean said his team lost their defensive identity during the slump and tried too hard to outscore the other team instead of just shutting them down. But he is optimistic that their defensive prowess will return. “It has been a little bit of a spiral to this point, and just now I feel like we’re at least trying to get our feet back underneath us a little bit and reestablish what our identity is,” he said.. The Rams have a nice balance of upperclassmen, but two sophomores are expected to make an impact in point guard Avika Mehta and swingman Michelle Diaz. Fean said the athletic Mehta will be the primary ball handler and “is well equipped” to handle the varsity game, while Diaz could be the team’s top scorer. “She just has that uncoached ability,” Fean said of Diaz. “She knows the plays to make and she knows how to beat her girl 1-on1.” Guard Lauren Genna is the top senior returner who can make her mark on both sides of the

floor. In addition to her shooting accuracy, Feam lauded Genna for her improved defensive play since first joining the varsity team as a freshman. Junior Rina Visvanathan is back with the team and will fill in as a third guard and senior Katelyn Diaz, Michelle’s sister, and Olivia Mogavero are both strong on the boards and the low post. Junior guard Julia Khashan has the potential to be a future star with her outside shooting and seniors Alexie Crisp and Cat Amini are expected to provide sparks off the bench.

James Desimone

Schedule

BOYS January 5 8 11 14 19 22 28

Lawrence @ Wantagh @ Seaford Island Trees @ North Shore North Shore @ Island Trees

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8

@ Lawrence Wantagh Seaford

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 17 21

Bethpage North Shore @ Island Trees

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January Lauren Genna

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

5 8 11 19 22 28

@ Lawrence Wantagh Seaford @ Bethpage @ North Shore Island Trees

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 3 7 10

Lawrence @ Wantagh @ Seaford

7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

Photos by Brian Ballweg HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


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December 30, 2021 — 9


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

EAST MEADOW Jets must overcome inexperience By GARRETT D. URIBE

T

he Jets start the season in rally mode after a raft of offseason departures – having hustled to rebuild a starting rotation around their sturdiest extant pillar, senior small forward Nabeel Sheihk, who earned AllCounty honors in spring as their third-leading scorer (9.7 points per game). Senior Marqiis Samuels – who led Conference AA2 in spring scoring 19 points per game – and fellow All-Conference guard Muneer Ibrahim (junior, 14 ppg) transferred over the summer, leaving the 5-foot-9, high-flying Sheihk as the Jets’ lone returning starter. “This team is almost all brand new,” said head coach Tom Rottkamp, whose club went 3-1 last season (2-1 AA2) as a follow-up to its postseason drought-ending 5-5 league showing in 2019-20. “We’re young and inexperienced. But we still have Nabeel, who can do a lot. Even at his height, he’s our best rebounder, because he can jump up and grab two hands on the rim.” Among the Jets’ first-year first-stringers, seniors Jared Shary and Shawn Haber have logged the most minutes. The pair will look to push the tempo in East Meadow’s frontcourt, with Shary handling distribution from the point. “Jared’s leadership will be key to our success,” Rottkamp said. “He’s a great passer. Shawn’s our hardest worker, and a great defensive player.” Rebounding force Dan Fisher (senior) takes over at center, while deep-threat Jayden Henriquez (junior) starts as the Jets’ stretch four. “We’re still just looking to play our game,” said Rottkamp, whose team plays eight of its first nine games on the road, including three of four to open its AA2 schedule. “We’ll try to pressure all 10 — December 30, 2021

over the court, and create opportunities to score through turnovers.” East Meadow has Herricks, Plainview, Westbury, Hicksville, Baldwin and Valley Stream Central as conference foes and will face each of them twice. Added Rottkamp: “We’re going to try to surprise some people, and get a playoff berth.” JETS LOOK TO CONTINUE PLAYOFF STREAK An unexpected offseason hurdle has prompted a round of personnel shuffling on head coach Pete Olenik’s squad, as East Meadow tests its depth in trying for an eighth straight postseason berth. Midway through the same summer that saw guard Rhoda Williams (10.7 ppg) graduate, fellow All-Conference honoree Allie Twible – who as an eighthgrade point guard led the Jets (5-2) in spring with 13.3 points per game (third in AA2) and 13 3-pointers – transferred to Holy Trinity. The combined offensive hit notwithstanding, Olenik said he is “energized” by the roster East Meadow has retained – pointing to causes for hope that the Jets can continue their playoff streak. “I’m excited about what we might accomplish this year,” said Olenik, whose club begins AA2 action on Dec. 15 at home facing Herricks. “This team has by far the best chemistry I’ve seen in my nine years as a coach here at East Meadow. We’re going to be young, but it’s a good core group of young players.” Set to start four underclassmen, East Meadow looks to lean on veterans Lindsay Solenski (4.7 ppg) and Isabela Pota (5.5 ppg). Solenski (senior) moves from the two position to answer the vacancy at point guard, while the 5-foot-8 Pota (junior) resumes her

promising rise at power forward. “Lindsay’s leadership qualities can’t be taught,” Olenik said of the fourth-year starter. “Our program wouldn’t be where it is without her contributions on and off the court. Isabella’s just a strong, physical presence, able to overpower players. She could have a monster season.” Junior Emily Forrler starts a first year at forward, while sophomores Charlotte Viola and Brooke Vislocky join the Jets’ motion offense as starting guards. “Our new, young players all play good, headsy basketball,” Olenik said, adding, “We definitely have the potential to make the playoffs, and possibly make some noise there.”

Isabella Pota

Schedule

BOYS December 15 18 22

@ Herricks Plainview @ Westbury

7:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 7 11 15 18 21 29

@ Hicksville Baldwin V.S. Central Herricks @ Plainview Westbury

5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

February 4 9 12

Hicksville @ Baldwin @ V.S. Central

5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 15 18 22

Herricks @ Plainview Westbury

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January

Nabeel Sheihk

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

8 11 15 18 21 29

Hicksville @ Baldwin @ V.S. Central @ Herricks Plainview @ Westbury

12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

February 4 9 12

@ Hicksville Baldwin V.S. Central

5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

Photos by Brian Ballweg HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

EAST ROCKAWAY Rocks rely on strong chemistry By BRIAN KACHARABA

I

t’s always tough when the best player on a team graduates, especially when he is among the scoring leaders on Long Island, but the East Rockaway boys are banking on an experienced roster and a unique defensive style to make up for it. The Rocks went 5-2 last winter for their first winning record in any campaign since 2011-12, but Franklin Infante took his 27-point scoring average to SUNY Plattsburgh. Plus, East Rockaway moved to Conference B, where it will have to fight for a playoff spot instead of going straight to the Long Island title game as the lone ‘C’ representative. Despite all that, head coach Paul Collins is optimistic his team can make a postseason push with a roster that is tight knit both on and off the court. “The team chemistry, which was good last year, got even better this year,” he said. “They know they need each other. There’s not 26 points from Franklin coming.” Junior Tyler Hyland and senior Aidan Green each averaged around 11 points last season and Collins thinks both can be even better with more consistency. Hyland had a 23-point game against Locust Valley on Feb. 26, a game that Infante missed. “He did not look for a shot as much with Franklin on the team,” Collins said. “I’m expecting him to look for a lot more.” Point guard Joe Lazazzaro will manage the offense and can also hit the jumper. Fellow seniors Joe Giamomona and Eddie Caddle handle the dirty work by setting screens to help the offense. Green, senior Tyler Poland and TO ADVERTISE CALL 516-569-4000

sophomore Chris Vertuccio will handle the rebounding responsibilities, with Green recording a 20-board game last season. They are key to a defensive scheme that will show different looks throughout the game. Junior John Giannotti will spell Lazazzaro and is another strong defender. EXPERIENCE, DEPTH KEY ROCKS The girls return most of team from the winter season (3-4) and boast seven seniors and three juniors on the 12-player roster. Just like their boy counterparts, the Rocks are now a Conference B team and are leaning on experience and an improved defense to make the playoffs. “I am hopeful that it’s going to all come together for them,” head coach Cheri Poland said. “Our defense is definitely a strong suit. That’s been our focus. I feel like we’re going to win our games through the defense.” Katy Howard is responsible for guarding the other team’s best player and had some big games on that end of the floor for the Rocks last season, according to Poland. Poland is hoping a solid defense will lead to more fast break opportunities on offense, where there is plenty of talent in seniors Riley O’Hagan (11 ppg last season), Howard (8.4) and Theresa Lynch (7). O’Hagan is starting her fourth year on varsity and will be the “go-to girl” on both offense and the leadership department. “I definitely noticed more confidence in her,” Poland said of O’Hagan’s career. “She definitely has become more vocal and leading them and really creating things on offense.” Emma Poland will quarterback the offense at the point and is another scoring

threat with three double-digit point games last winter. The 6-foot sophomore can also come up with the key block on defense. Eighthgrader Maya Motherway is being groomed as the future point guard who will collect plenty of minutes this season. Senior Mimi Bilardello is another dual threat on defense and beyond the 3-point arc on offense. Newcomer Keira O’Neill is a swingman who will be counted on for rebounding and scoring and junior Julia Passanisi is expected to provide a spark on the floor with her aggressiveness.

Aidan Green

Schedule BOYS December 14 15 18 20 22

West Hempstead @ Locust Valley Wheatley @ C.S. Harbor Oyster Bay

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 4 7 12 15 18 21 29

@ Malverne 7:00 p.m. @ Friends Academy 7:00 p.m. Carle Place 7:00 p.m. @ West Hempstead 12:00 p.m. Locust Valley 7:00 p.m. @ Wheatley 7:00 p.m. C.S. Harbor 12:00 p.m.

February 1 4 7 12

@ Oyster Bay Malverne Friends Academy @ Carle Place

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 15 18 20 22

@ West Hempstead Locust Valley @ Wheatley C.S. Harbor @ Oyster Bay

6:45 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January Riley O’Hagan

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

4 7 12 15 18 21 29

Malverne Friends Academy @ Carle Place West Hempstead @ Locust Valley Wheatley @ C.S. Harbor

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

February 1 4 7 12

Oyster Bay 7:00 p.m. @ Malverne 7:00 p.m. @ Friends Academy 7:00 p.m. Carle Place 12:00 p.m.

Photos by Ron Manfredi

December 30, 2021 — 11


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

ELMONT Spartans coming off big season By ANDREW COEN

E

lmont boys’ basketball made the most of a shortened 2021 season going undefeated, but will be largely starting over this winter. The Spartans went 8-0 with a senior-laden team in a season with no playoffs one year after capturing a county title before the Long Island Class A finals were cancelled at the onset of the pandemic.

Rae Sawyer

While much of last year’s team has graduated, second-year head coach Ryan Straub hopes the momentum can be carried over with younger players who got a taste of success. “We’re looking to build and keep things going, “ Straub said. “But we have a lot of new guys so it will take awhile to develop the chemistry that we had.” Sophomore forward Osagie Ekhator brings the Spartans some experience in the frontcourt after earning minutes off the bench last year. Straub said he hopes the 6-foot-5 Ekhator can turn into more of a leader on and off the court as he gains more varsity experience. “He is skilled, he is tough, he rebounds and he communicates well,” said Straub of Ekhator. “He is going to be a big piece for us.” Senior Giovanni Pierre-Chrispin also adds a big presence in the paint as a solid defender and rebounder. Junior guard Girell Frias-Walsh will be a key part of the backcourt as he team’s top defender and ability to drive to the rim. Straub said many roles are up in the air early as he looks for 9 to 10 players who will see the floor in each game. Junior Kristion Meade has demonstrated a strong mid-range jump shot and will be part of the rotation. “I want us to just go out there and be the hardest working team day in and day out,” Straub said. “The kids who play tough, defend, rebound and communicate are going to be the ones who see the floor.” SPARTANS LOOK TO KEEP UP TRADITION New Elmont girls head coach Pete Lawson takes over a team

12 — December 30, 2021

that fought through a shortened 2021 season with little depth. The Spartans battled to a 4-4 record with just seven players last winter and Lawson is hopeful that newcomers to the varsity can now step up to provide more of a bench. Lawson, who took over for longtime head coach Tom Mango, has familiarity with much of the roster after coaching the junior varsity program the past two seasons. “We have expectations of going to the playoffs, but the team is an enigma,” said Lawson of the many new faces on varsity. “We’re just looking to play hard and just have fun this season.” Returning senior Rae Sawyer (point guard), Kelliane Watkins (shooting guard) and Orobo Ogbovoh (forward) bring veteran leadership in Lawson’s first year leading the bench after receiving significant minutes as juniors. Senior Deanna McLeish and junior Aryanna Pierre are also back on varsity and will add some depth at the guard position. Lawson said he hopes newer players who were on JV last season can also step up to add more scoring options including Keilah Watkins, Naomi Steade, Anaise Novembre, Taylah Farquharson, Chi Chi Chikuezi and Anya Williams. He said reaching playoffs is the main goal, which can be accomplished with a .500 or better league record after there was no postseason held last season due to the pandemic. Like the boys, the Spartans compete in a challenging Conference A-II with Calhoun, Carey, Garden City, Glen Cove, Sewanhaka and Roslyn. “I’m really expecting this team to make the playoffs because Elmont has such a strong and rich tradition of being among the top teams and I would hate to disrupt that,” Lawson joked. “I’m hoping that that they are hungry and ready for it.”

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Osagie Ekhator

Schedule BOYS December 14 21

Carey @ Calhoun

4:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 5 8 11 14 19 28

Garden City @ Sewanhaka Glen Cove @ Roslyn @ Carey Calhoun

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8 11

@ Garden City Sewanhaka @ Glen Cove Roslyn

6:45 p.m. 10:00 a.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 21

@ Carey Calhoun

4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

January 5 8 11 14 19 28

@ Garden City Sewanhaka @ Glen Cove Roslyn Carey @ Calhoun

5:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8 11

Garden City @ Sewanhaka Glen Cove @ Roslyn

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

Photos by Keith O’Reilly HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


1155263

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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

December 30, 2021 — 13


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

FREEPORT All hands on deck for Red Devils By DAVID WEINGRAD

F

or Freeport, this season is about establishing a foundation for the future. The team has no returning varsity members, but there’s certainly no dearth of young talent. The key this winter, said head coach Larry Steimer, will be refining that talent. “The main story line this year is we are going to have to look at everybody,” Steimer said. “We’ll have to play 10 to 12 kids and there’s a lot of polishing that will have to go on.” One youngster Steimer is excited about is freshman Jashaun Jones. The young guard already possesses strong ball handling skills and a knack for the game beyond his years. “In a couple of years, he can be an All-Long Island kid,” said Steimer. Another guard, junior Marcus Rhymes, has also shown flashes of potential. At center, 6-foot-6 sophomore Elijah Darby has the rare combination of size and outside shooting ability. Steimer expects he’ll still grow a few more inches before he graduates two years from now. And as far as raw talent goes, no player on their roster may be quicker than junior guard Jaden Threat, who Steimer said is playing his best when he attacks the rim. It’s an open competition for playing time, with each player receiving their fair share of opportunities in the early stages. “The boys know there’s an opportunity to get in the game,” said Steimer. “They’re a young, athletic group who enjoy coming to practice every day.” To offset their inexperience, the coach said the Red Devils, who face a challenging Conference AA-1 schedule, will have to play aggressively on defense and parlay turnovers into points. “We’re looking to build something,” Steimer said. “I think this group has the 14 — December 30, 2021

potential to eventually be a playoff team that can do something. There’s a couple of steps we have to take before that happens.” RED DEVILS EXPECT TO CONTEND While nearly every program was disadvantaged by last year’s shortened season, it particularly hampered a young Freeport girls’ team that underwent a major roster turnover. But that challenge presents a unique opportunity that veteran head coach Meredith Jones is more than ready for. It also doesn’t hurt to have a standout player in All-County junior Taneece Wooden. The third-year varsity performer standing at 5-11 excels at all facets of the sport, from running the offense, to scoring from the outside or in the post, and driving to the hoop. “She can do it all,” said Jones. Freeport suffered a big blow when it lost its second-leading scorer, junior Anayah Lloyd, who tore her ACL over the summer and will miss the entire season. But two other experienced and versatile seniors, guard Ancksu Dixon and forward Windney Destin, will help pick up the slack offensively. Two sophomore guards, Star Asia Gaines and Ania Crocker, round out the starting five. Jones praised both for their chemistry alongside each other and their scoring abilities. But with no other returning players on the roster, the second unit presents a bit more of a work-in progress. Jones hopes the team’s short non-conference schedule will provide the opportunity for players to step up and show what they can do. For now, she has her eye

on junior Zaria Chaplin, a guard who brings speed and a high basketball I.Q. to the court. Freeport is typically a perennial contender in Conference AA-1, and Jones sees no reason why that won’t be the case this winter, even with the early season question marks. “I still think we’ll be one of the top teams,” she said. “We have a solid starting five. “I want our offense to stem from our defense and for us to really push the ball.”

Marcus Rhymes

Schedule BOYS December 16 18 22

@ Uniondale @ Oceanside Massapequa

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 4 7 13 15 18 21 29

@ Farmingdale Syosset Port Washington @ Hempstead Uniondale Oceanside @ Massapequa

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.

February 1 4 9 12

Farmingdale 7:00 p.m. @ Syosset 5:00 p.m. @ Port Washington 6:15 p.m. Hempstead 12:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 18 22

Uniondale Oceanside @ Massapequa

6:45 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 6:15 p.m.

January Taneece Wooden

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

4 7 12 15 18 21 29

Farmingdale 6:45 p.m. @ Syosset 5:00 p.m. @ Port Washington 6:15 p.m. Hempstead 12:00 p.m. @ Uniondale 5:00 p.m. @ Oceanside 6:15 p.m. Massapequa 12:00 p.m.

February 1 4 9 12

@ Farmingdale Syosset Port Washington @ Hempstead

5:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m. 6:45 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

Photos by Neil Miller HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

HEWLETT Bulldogs can deliver some bite By TONY BELLISSIMO

least the middle of January.” Cutting down on turnovers is high on the list of goals, he noted, and senior point guards Mark Winkler ewlett has become perenand Ian Panzarella will have a big nial contenders in Nassau boys’ basketball and will be say in that regard. Depending on challenged by a competitive group situations, both will be on the floor at the same time. of conference rivals that include a Junior shooting guard Ryan half-dozen of playoff regulars. Weiss averaged 28 points per “We’re in a really strong game last winter after pouring in conference and it’s going to be interesting with not a lot to gauge 18 ppg as a freshman. He’s a fouryear starter who makes everyone from last season,” head coach around him better, Dubin said. Bill Dubin said. “We only played “Ryan could be the best shooter four games after no preseason or I’ve every coached,” he said. “He intramurals. Our offseason was no different than usual so that’s a can rip it from outside and is also aggressive to the basket.” positive. I’m seeing a lot of hard The frontcourt group features work, unselfishness and enthusireturning senior starters Evan asm.” Greenberg at center and Nicky Dubin said he likes the Bulldogs’ balance, although he doesn’t Morgan at small forward. Greenberg is one of the top athletes in see them peaking until “at the school, Dubin said, and runs the floor well in addition to his efforts in the paint. Morgan is an accurate shooter who plays with grit and defends well. Junior Jace Apter, up from JV, is strong in the half-court setting screens and is one of the team’s top rebounders.

H

Molly Williams

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offs in the 2019-2020 campaign and won 12 games, including a first-round postseason victory over Garden City, then followed up by sweeping last winter’s Covid-shortened, five-game slate. “We got the most out of last season as we could,” head coach Anthony Scro said. “It was awesome we were able to play. We were hoping to go far in the playoffs, especially for the four seniors, but there were no playoffs.” Loaded with youth aside from senior forward Molly Williams, the Bulldogs face an impressive list of conference foes that includes South Side, Manhasset, Division and Kennedy. “We had really good wins over Manhasset and Division last season, but we know how tough things are going to be,” Scro said. “We have a lot of work to do but we’re excited for the challenge.” Both Williams and junior point guard Riley Weiss are fifth-year varsity players. Williams is a threesport athlete who brings leadership and confidence to the court, Scro said. “Molly is one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached,” he said. “She can hit shots from anywhere, passes well and rebounds.” Weiss was the county’s leading scorer as a sophomore, putting up an eye-popping 40 points per game after averaging 28 ppg as a freshman. “Riley is an all-around great player with amazing court vision and game awareness,” Scro “It’s going to be difficult said. “Every aspect of her game to double any of our guys,” said Dubin, who expects senior Michael just gets better and better. Her defense isn’t talked about enough Paris, junior Matteo Preziosi and because of her scoring ability.” sophomore Luke Rochler to make Quality minutes from last significant contributions. season should bode well for junior Emily Ertos, a guard/forward BULLDOGS AIM TO combo who has good range and CONTINUE MOMENTUM Momentum has been building can get to the basket. Juniors Jordyn Ziarno and Talya Uziel also for Hewlett girls’ basketball. It bring varsity experience. reached the Nassau Class A playHIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Up from JV, sophomore twins Catie and Margie Iannico bring height and quickness to the frontcourt, and sophomore Isabella Betencour will be in the mix at guard. Evan Greenberg

Schedule

MATT GUILFOYLE BOYS

December

13 17 21

Kennedy @ Manhasset V.S. North

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 5 8 11 19 22 28

@ Roosevelt South Side @ Division @ Kennedy Manhasset @ V.S. North

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8

Roosevelt @ South Side Division

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 13 17 21

@ Kennedy Manhasset @ V.S. North

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 5 8 11 19 22 28

Roosevelt @ South Side Division Kennedy @ Manhasset V.S. North

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8

@ Roosevelt South Side @ Division

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

Photos by Jeff Wilson

December 30, 2021 — 15


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

KENNEDY Cougars need to generate offense By TONY BELLISSIMO

the last minute,” head coach Rory Block said. “We ended up getting a lot out of it. It was a positive ennedy boys’ basketball was experience.” The Cougars, who boast a fortunate enough to play all 8 of its games in the Covid- bunch of three-sport athletes, saw four juniors and four sophomores shortened season last winter and get a bunch of playing time. Most made the most of it. of the offense was provided by “It was a surprise season since-graduated seniors, so Block because we learned about it at noted the defense will need to be a theme early while the production comes along. “We didn’t have anyone score in double digits last season and we lost most of our scoring,” Block said. “That’s probably the biggest concern.” The offense will be in the hands of senior point guard Blake Peyser, a third-year varsity player with a quality handle. “Blake has the experience you want at the point and he can get us into the offense,” Block said. “He definitely has the ability to step up his game and chip in some points.” Junior wing Ben Mehani is being counted on to boost his output as well after averaging 5 points per game. “Ben can play anywhere but center and he’s capable of hitting threes and increase his scoring,” said Block, who added senior Jayson Eisner and junior Matt Wallace serve as a perimeter threats. Not the biggest power forward at 6-foot-1, junior Alex Silva plays bigger than his size, Block said, and brings grit and energy. Senior center Jason Guardiola has a physical edge to his game and can rebound. Senior Dan Seymour is 6-foot-7 and can turn offensive rebounds into putbacks and also blocks shots. Junior forward Liam Schillinger will also be counted on to clean up the glass and spark the defense.

K

Jamie Maroof

16 — December 30, 2021

COUGARS WORK TO CONTINUE SUCCESS The announcement there would be basketball played in Nassau County last season was exciting for all teams, but the

decision not to conduct playoffs was heartbreaking for those with championship aspirations like Kennedy. The Cougars, who brought back plenty of starpower from their Class A semifinal appearance in 2019-2020, went 8-0 last winter. “It was nice to be able to play, but at the same time it was upsetting we didn’t get to see it through and see how far we could go,” head coach Mallory Freeley said. “Now we’re trying to build it back up. We stand a chance to do well again if we can get all of our eggs in order.” A mix of veterans and varsity newcomers will comprise the starting five for Kennedy, which has South Side, Hewlett and Manhasset among its conference foes. Senior guards Jamie Maroof and Sarah Klein are both coming off Honorable Mention All-County campaigns and lead the way, Freeley said. Maroof, a four-year varsity player, thrives in pressure situations, Freeley noted, and will take on a much larger offensive role. “Jamie’s a spot-up shooter with terrific form and can get to the basket as well,” she said. Klein, a three-sport athlete, will be tasked with picking up some of the scoring slack. “She’s a playmaker with great court vision,” Freeley said. Sophomore Ella Galjanich takes over point guard duties and will be counted on to protect the ball and distribute. “She got some varsity minutes last season and has a good handle and knows how to direct traffic,” Freeley said. The frontcourt features junior Gianna Costaro, an outside shooting threat who works hard on the boards, freshman Ashley St. Surin, a true post player with size and all the tools, and senior Faith Gunn, a 6-foot-plus center. “Any of our five starters can score in double figures on any given night,” Freeley said.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Blake Peyser

Schedule MATT GUILFOYLE BOYS

December

13 17 21

@ Hewlett Division South Side

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

January 5 8 14 19 22 28

@ V.S. North Roosevelt @ Manhasset Hewlett @ Division @ South Side

7:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 1 6 11

V.S North @ Roosevelt Manhasset

7:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 13 17 21

Hewlett @ Division @ South Side

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 4 8 14 19 22 27

V.S. North @ Roosevelt Manhasset @ Hewlett Division South Side

7:15 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.

February 1 6 11

@ V.S North Roosevelt @ Manhasset

7:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

Photos by Ron Manfredi HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


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December 30, 2021 — 17


2021- 22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

LAWRENCE Golden Tornadoes back at full strength By JAMIE deJONG

L

awrence boys’ basketball enters the new campaign with an overdue sense of normalcy, after having last season significantly impacted by the widespread effects of Covid. The Golden Tornadoes still finished with a respectable 3-5 record in Conference A5, despite many alterations that were made due to the pandemic. “We only had two returning kids because some kids chose not to participate due to Covid,” head coach Lou Robinson said. “We had to bring up a bunch of kids from JV and still were competitive.” Third-year varsity player Don Smalls III is expected to dominate a large share of the offensive touches, as he solidifies himself as one of the better scorers in the county. He averaged 17.5 points per game as a junior. “Everything is going to pretty much run through him,” Robinson added. Senior Kanye Robinson and junior Dexter Robinson will be welcomed additions to the starting lineup, as this dynamic duo were key starters on the 2018-2019 roster, but didn’t compete last season. The athletic tandem of vertical forwards should dominate minutes at the forward spot and provide an interior presence that was fickle last season. Tyler Bowers is another set starter, after somewhat capitalizing on the sparse roster last season and giving quality minutes as a sophomore. Rounding out the presumed rotation are seniors Phillip Bernard and Adrian Wahab, junior Stephon Carabello and sophomores Avery Folawiyo and Zaire Galloway. As is the case with most teams, the challenge for the Golden Tornadoes will be assimilating back to “normal” game 18 — December 30, 2021

conditions and settings after the uneven quagmire of last season. “Two seasons ago we were a playoff team and very very young, and then last year was just such a mess in terms of everything,” Robinson said. “I keep telling these guys it’s great that we have this varsity experience but we don’t have varsity experience playing in front of people.” GOLDEN TORNADOES RELYING ON YOUTH The Lawrence girls are attempting to revert from bad habits and tendencies of old. Following a shortened campaign, where they dropped all seven games, this season will be instrumental in generating a new culture and feeling behind the program. Jason Supple is preparing for his inaugural season as head coach and is excited about the task at hand. While many of the returning players for the have some semblance of experience, 9 of the 11 girls are underclassmen, which may bode well for the hard-nosed, scrappy culture that Supple is attempting to instill into this program. “I like the number of underclassmen that we have because the younger girls can get used to my system and then we can build upon that in future offseasons and stay acclimated to it,” Supple explained. Returning junior guard Andie Adams will be the centerpiece of the offense in many respects, as she averaged 18.7 points per game last winter and will relied upon to replicate or improve that production. “She’s a great player; a lot of our offense is going to run through her,” Supple said. Junior forward/ center Daniella de la Cruz is a

returning starter and will be looked upon to control the glass and be steady presence on both ends of the court. Sophomore Kaitlyn Walsh, a returning guard, and returning senior forward Jayla Basnight will be starters and asked to make two-way impacts. Junior Ambrasia Frye and Skylar Frasier can either round out the starting five or provide a spark off the bench.

Andie Adams

“We’re a developing team,” Supple said. “We didn’t win many games last year, but this a scrappy group for sure. “I’m excited,” he added. “I’m not saying that we are going to shock the world or win a bunch of games but I’m very impressed with the girls’ work ethic and the way that they are buying in.” MATT GUILFOYLE Schedule

BOYS January 5 8 12 14 19 22 28

@ Clarke North Shore @ Wantagh Seaford @ Island Trees Island Trees @ Seaford

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8

Clarke @ North Shore Wantagh

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 17 21

@ Wantagh Island Trees @ Seaford

5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 5 8 13 19 22 28

Clarke @ North Shore Lynbrook Wantagh @ Island Trees Seaford

5:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

February Don Smalls III

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

2 5 10

@ Clarke North Shore @ Lynbrook

7:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. 6:30 p.m.

Photos by Donovan Berthoud HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

LONG BEACH Marines aim to be contenders By TONY BELLISSIMO

L

ong Beach boys’ basketball played all eight of its games last winter and engaged in a bunch of close battles, winning none. Head coach Scott Martin said the monthlong campaign “offered little time to teach but it was a teambuilding experience for anyone who got through it.” The Marines had trouble scoring, cracking 60 points just once, but Martin feels the experience gained was a positive and something that could help them challenge for a conference title. In 20192020,

Lily Fenech

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they went undefeated against conference foes. “I believe the door to the conference championship is wide open,” said Martin, whose squad is part of A-1 along with Great Neck North, Great Neck South, Jericho, MacArthur, Mepham and New Hyde Park. Leading the charge for Long Beach will be senior wing Bret Michaels, who is big, strong and athletic, and can play anywhere, Martin said. “He didn’t play with us last season, but he plays a ton of basketball and he should be one of the top kids in the conference,” Martin said. Senior guard Nathaniel Mesa is coming off an All-Conference season and added some height and worked on his shooting to go with his quickness. At the point, sophomore Mike Main is another AllConference selection who brings topnotch skills. Main, who played every minute of every game, can take defenders off the dribble and is confident running the offense. Junior Jack Shields is an offensive-minded power forward who can make things happen in the paint with his size and shooting ability. “He’s aggressive with the ball,” Martin said. Senior Jeff Conway, a key member of the football team and a former wrestler, can rebound, defend and run the floor. Martin said the Marines will also lean on their depth in the frontcourt, which includes seniors Matt Grossman and Dan Rosenberg, as well as juniors Aidan Brody and Rayryan Rivera. MULTI-SPORT ATHLETES LEAD MARINES Long Beach girls’ basketball head coach Kristin Ciccone can’t help but think how far last season’s team could’ve gone had Nassau County conducted playoffs. “It would’ve been exciting,” she

said.

The offseason wasn’t so normal, either. Not because of Covid, but kids’ commitments to other sports limited the usual number of workouts. “All of the girls play other sports and it’s great to have this level of athleticism on the team,” Ciccone said. “I’m excited to watch them grow and use their other sports instincts on the basketball court.” Although the Marines are sure to miss the presence of junior Keira Bauer, a lacrosse standout who suffered a knee injury last spring, Ciccone will count on a mix of athletes from all four grades to get the job done. “We’ll be competitive and it’s hard to say who’s the favorite to win the conference,” Ciccone said. “Talking with other coaches, it really seems up for grabs and nobody’s going undefeated.” Seniors Alex Hastings, Lily Fenech and Noelle Main will set the tone. Hastings is usually in the spotlight in the spring as the pitcher for the softball team. She’s a point guard with experience, quickness and scoring ability. “Her shot has really started to click,” Ciccone said. Fenech is a hard-working forward who’s always traveling at full speed and doing all the little things not found in a boxscore. “Her energy is contagious,” Ciccone said. Main assumes a larger role and is a candidate to crack the starting five. Her younger sister, sophomore Ava Main, is a tenacious defender and can attack the basket. Juniors Megan BrolleyMonahan and Gabby Gelish also run the point. Brolley-Mohanah is a lefty 3-point shooter and likely starter. Freshman Franky Decicco has a wide range of skills. At center, junior Haley Brandt is strong on the boards and leads the Marines in the paint.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Bret Michaels

Schedule BOYS December 14 17 21

MacArthur @ New Hyde Park G.N. North

5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

January 6 8 11 19 22 28

@ Mepham G.N. South @ Jericho @ MacArthur New Hyde Park @ G.N. North

6:30 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8

Mepham @ G.N. South Jericho

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 17 21

@ MacArthur New Hyde Park @ G.N. North

7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

January 5 8 11 19 22 28

Mepham @ G.N. South Jericho MacArthur @ New Hyde Park G.N. North

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8

@ Mepham G.N. South @ Jericho

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

Photos by Neil Miller

December 30, 2021 — 19


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2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

2021-22

BOYS HEAD

COACHES DARIUS BURTON - Baldwin

JAY KREUTZBERGER - Calhoun

STEVE SAVINO - Carey

PAUL COLLINS - East Rockaway

RYAN STRAUB - Elmont

LARRY STEIMER - Freeport

BILL DUBIN - Hewlett

RORY BLOCK - Kennedy

LOU ROBINSON - Lawrence

SCOTT MARTIN - Long Beach

JAMIE ADAMS - Lynbrook

BRIAN MAINI - MacArthur

DARROLL LOPEZ - Malverne

BOB KAIBLE - Mepham

ED RISENER - Oceanside

RALPH ROSSETTI - Seaford

JASON ALLEN - Sewanhaka

JERRY D’ANGELO - South Side

TIM O’HAGAN - V.S. Central

MICHAEL MCVEIGH - V.S. North

22 — December 30, 2021

DARYL JOHNSON - V.S. South

JOE HASBROUCK - Clarke

MATT SIMEONE - Wantagh

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

TOM ROTTKAMP - East Meadow

JOE THOMAS - West Hempstead

HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

2021-22

GIRLS HEAD

COACHES TOM CATAPANO - Baldwin

DAN CATAPANO - Calhoun

ANTHONY TURCO - Carey

CHERI POLAND - East Rockaway

PETE LAWSON - Elmont

MEREDITH JONES - Freeport

ANTHONY SCRO - Hewlett

MALLORY PALMIERI - Kennedy

JASON SUPPLE - Lawrence

KRISTIN CICCONE - Long Beach

STEVE LOCICERO - Lynbrook

DAVE RADTKE - MacArthur

AMANDA MASSON - Malverne

JIM MULVEY - Mepham

JARED STOLER - Oceanside

STEPHANIE BARTKUS - Seaford

ALEX SOUPIOS - Sewanhaka

DAN FERRICK - South Side

MALYSSA THORNGREN - VS Central

GEORGE KARAHALIOS - V.S. North

DEIRDRE GORDON - V.S. South

STAN BUJACICH - Wantagh

CHRIS VAN KOVICS - West Hempstead

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SHAUN FEAN - Clarke

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

PETE OLENIK - East Meadow

December 30, 2021 — 23


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

CONFERENCE AA-I

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CONFERENCE AA-II

• Baldwin • East Meadow • Herricks • Hicksville • Plainview • V.S. Central • Westbury

CONFERENCE A-I

• Great Neck North • Great Neck South • Jericho • Long Beach • MacArthur • Mepham • New Hyde Park

A

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2021-22 NASSAU COUNTY BASKETBALL

CONFERENCE A-II

• Calhoun • Carey • Elmont • Garden City • Glen Cove • Roslyn • Sewanhaka

CONFERENCE A-III

• Bellmore=JFK • Division • Hewlett • Manhasset • Roosevelt • South Side • V.S. North

CONFERENCE A-IV

• Academy Charter • Bethpage • Floral Park • Lynbrook • Mineola • Plainedge • V.S. South

CONFERENCE A-V

• Clarke • Island Trees • Lawrence • North Shore • Seaford • Wantagh

CONFERENCE B-I

• Carle Place • Cold Spring Harbor • East Rockaway • Friends Academy • Locust Valley • Malverne • Oyster Bay • West Hempstead • Wheatley

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2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

LYNBROOK Experienced Owls have high hopes By JAMIE deJONG

I

n the midst of all the commotion in the shortened and altered 2020-21 basketball season, the Lynbrook boys managed to adapt to the foreign circumstances and finished the season 8-0. Coming into this season, the team will look to transfer the positive qualities from earlier in the calendar year. “What kind of came out of that season was we found out who we are,” head coach Jamie Adams said. “We were able to hit the ground running thanks to the system we’ve been running for the past five years.” The system isn’t the only constant from last season, as most players in this year’s rotation were key cogs on the undefeated team. Projected starting Point guard

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was only a one-month season,” head coach Steve LoCicero said. “This team coming in has a couple of those girls and we’re expecting great things as we have a young team with great senior leadership.” Kyla Nembach will serve as one of those key senior leaders, as the fourth-year varsity player will function as the central playmaker for the lady Owls. As LoCicero said, “she’s our best player by far.” Senior Keziah Job also will play key minutes for the Owls and provide a steady and comforting presence for the squad. Junior Kaelynn O’Brien will start at guard and help stretch the floor, as LoCicero thinks “she really could be special this year.” Junior Caityblu Cavassa will play a supplementary role as a starter, as she will be looked upon to contribute rebounds and shooting for the squad. Junior Tyla Vuotto is another presumed starter, as the three-sport athlete should provide pace and lockdown defense. A potential X-factor for the team is freshman Cate Jennings, as the program is quite bullish on her. LoCicero said: “She may be the best freshman I’ve ever coached.” Rounding out the rotation is senior Grace Bodian, sophomore MackOWLS YOUNG WITH enzie Casey, and freshman Brooke Mazzei. SENIOR LEADERS For the Owls’, their style of Lynbrook’s girls’ play will be what carries them basketball team is also trying to main- throughout this season. “We play a very fast, up-tempo pace,” tain progressions made in last year’s LoCicero said. “We’re trying to get a shot off every 10 seconds and eccentric season, then trap everywhere on defense. where it finished “We’re in great condition and .500. “Last year was have great athleticism,” he added. such an anomaly “We also have some high basketball IQ players and a lot of skill so as we had a with that pace it won’t be unusual really good for us to put up 70 points.” team, but it

Eli Sherman-Murphy is one of the returning players who may have marginally benefited from last year’s awkward league setup, as the returning junior got surplus minutes on account of the abbreviated season. Senior Haris Cekic is going to be one of the team’s starting big men. Senior Richard CorreaLampasona will occupy the other forward spot, as his deft shooting touch allows him to play inside the paint and out. The size these two possess will be a significant advantage for the Owls, as Adams said: “We’ve never had two starters be over 6-foot-5.” Sean Lengyel will occupy another starting spot on the wing. Senior Peter Donnarumma will operate as a jack-of-all-trades type for the Owls. Junior Sean O’Donovan will provide offense off the bench, as Adams said “he may be the best shooter on the team.” “With the success, we’ve had the last five years, I try to tell these guys that we are going to get everybody’s best punch and we know that.” Adams said. “The only thing that can really stand in our way is us. No one is going to come in and say ‘oh those guys are pretty good’ and roll over.”

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Kyla Nembach

Schedule BOYS MATT GUILFOYLE December

15 17 23

Floral Park @ Mineola Plainedge

7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 5 8 11 19 22 28

@ Bethpage 7:00 p.m. V.S. South 12:00 p.m. @ Academy Charter 7:00 p.m. @ Floral Park 5:00 p.m. Mineola 12:00 p.m. @ Plainedge 5:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8

Bethpage @ V.S. South Academy Charter

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 17 20

@ Floral Park Mineola @ Plainedge

5:00 p.m. 4:45 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

January 6 7 12 13 19 28

Bethpage @ V.S. South @ Mineola @ Lawrence Floral Park Plainedge

4:45 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 4:45 p.m.

February 2 3 10

@ Bethpage V.S. South Lawrence

5:00 p.m. 4:45 p.m. 6:30 p.m.

Photos by Donovan Berthoud

December 30, 2021 — 25


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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

MacARTHUR M Generals restock after departures By ANDREW COEN

S

econd-year MacArthur boys’ basketball head coach Brian Maini didn’t have much time to get acquainted with his new team during last year’s abridged season due to restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic. “My first day watching them play was the first day of tryouts,” said Maini, who previously served as head coach across town at Division. Maini will have a much more normal season on tap this winter but with a largely new squad after graduating all starters from last year’s 4-4 team.

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Senior guard Matthew Sarni and senior forward Philip Trafficanda, who both missed last season, are expected to be key contributors this winter. Junior guard Sonny D’Errico will look to step up on the varsity level after shining on JV as a sophomore. “He put a lot of time in during the offseason so we’re excited to see what he brings to the table as a junior,” said Maini of D’Errico. “He’s someone we are really excited about.” Chris Gryl, John Rebaudo IV and TJ Trapani all received minutes off the bench last season as juniors and will be taking on bigger roles in their senior campaigns. Junior Sebastian Loor also returns after being moved up from JV as a sophomore. The Generals will compete in a challenging ConferenceA-1, which includes Long Beach, Jericho, Mepham, Great Neck North, Great Neck South and New Hyde Park, and Maini is looking for them to peak at the right time and reach the playoffs while also showing a positive attitude in the process. “As a new coaching staff we’re excited for the opportunity and are really looking to build a culture of accountability, trust and togetherness and always playing with pride for our school and community,” he said. “We’re looking to compete every night and get ourselves into the playoffs and take it from there.” ATHLETICISM KEY TO GENERALS’ SUCCESS MacArthur returns plenty of experience despite graduating six seniors from last year’s 5-3 shortened season. Eighth-year head coach Dave Radtke said his team, which features many three-sport ath-

letes, is poised for a playoff drive in his fast-pace style offense and full-court pressure defense. “We like to get teams to play fast,” Radtke said. “Teams don’t like to play us because we don’t let them set up their offense.” Leading the charge in the Generals’ up-tempo system is senior Hailey Hnis, a reigning All-County guard who will play college soccer at Albany next fall after a stellar high school career on the pitch. Juniors Ava Anguilli and Marissa Cardon are also core returners. Senior Ryann Murphy, a standout volleyball player, and senior Gianna Feniello, a lacrosse commit at Eastern Michigan, provide athleticism to MacArthur’s lineup on both ends of the floor. Sophomore Sara Kealey will also provide a spark after moving up from junior varsity for part of last season. The Generals tied for the conference title in A-1 and with the league wide-open Radtke sees potential for another strong showing this season that can culminate in a postseason run. The conference features Mepham, Long Beach, Jericho, Valley Stream Central, Great Neck South, Great Neck North and Garden City. Radtke said the team is entering the season extra motivated after being limited to so few games with no playoffs last winter. He noted that for the first time in his many years of coaching every returning varsity player participated in summer league. “They are great kids and are like wind-up toys with motors that just keep going and going and going and they do everything we ask them to do,” Radtke said. “The starters lead by example and they work as hard as everyone else so there is no slacking off which really helps.”

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Hailey Hnis

Schedule

MATT GUILFOYLE

BOYS December

14 17 21

@ Long Beach @ Jericho G.N. South

5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 5 8 14 19 22 28

@ G.N. North Mepham @ New Hyde Park Long Beach Jericho @ G.N. South

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 11

G.N. North @ Mepham New Hyde Park

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 17 21

Long Beach @ Jericho @ G.N. South

7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

January 6 8 14 19 22 28

G.N. North @ Mepham New Hyde Park @ Long Beach Jericho G.N. South

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 11

@ G.N. North Mepham @ New Hyde Park

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

Photos by Ron Manfredi

December 30, 2021 — 27


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

MALVERNE Mules try to overcome key losses By BRIAN KACHARABA

M

alverne has constantly appeared in title games in recent years, but can it continue that trend after losing its top two scorers from last season? The Mules, who appeared in two Long Island Class B championship games in the previous three full seasons, fared well last winter with five wins in seven games during the abbreviated campaign. Michael Warren was the secondleading scorer on Long Island with a 28.6 average and James Ackies (11.7 ppg) was the other Mule to finish in double digits, but both graduated in the spring. The next highest was power forward DeAndre’ Blagrove (8.6), who has the potential to dominate on both ends of the court in his senior season, followed by Keondre Greene (6.7), Farvens Ulysse

28 — December 30, 2021

“We have a young team, but they’re definitely developing,” she said. “I can see us doing pretty well this season.” That optimism originated from training camp. The school doesn’t have a JV team, so the newcomers are learning the speed of the varsity game on the fly. “They’re hustling and have a willingness to learn,” she observed. “It’s really challenging because there are a lot of freshman and sophomores that are not used to it. But them grasping it quickly is what I’m seeing.” The team is lead by sixthyear varsity point guard Princia Ulysse, who averaged just over nine points a game last season. She had three double-digit point games during her junior campaign, including a seasonhigh 17 against Oyster Bay on Feb. 16. “She’s going to be handling the ball the most,” Masson said. “Now, this is her time to show leadership. She’s more vocal and confident in her plays and attacking more.” Ulysse will be joined in the backcourt by sophomore Mikayla Johnson. The pair established a nice chemistry during the preseason scrimmages and Masson is excited to see how that further MULES SEARCH develops in the coming months. FOR THE Senior guard Jasmine Ackies is ELUSIVE ‘W’ back with the team after missing The girls’ team last season and junior Jamila enters the season Smith will ease Ulysse’s workload mired in a 12-game losing streak as another guard. Freshman that dates back to their last win on Jan. 17, 2020. That includes an Tyzanae Reed is a tough power forward who projects to be the 0-6 mark last winter in which the Mules averaged just over 28 points team’s top rebounder and junior Anissa McKay provides the spark a game. Head coach Amanda Masson off the bench. has decided to push the reset button and use this season as a fresh start with a roster filled with mostly underclassmen. (6.2) and Trey Robinson (5.2). Assistant coach Walter Aksionoff said those players’ talents, with the added responsibilities they will have this season, should result in higher scoring averages. “You take a look at Trey, Ulysses and DeAndre’ right there, they easily can score anywhere from 15 and 20,” he said. Junior guard Joshua Croom was supposed to combine with Warren to form a powerful backcourt last winter, but he injured his foot during his 18-point performance in the opener against Cold Spring Harbor and missed the rest of the season. He is also a strong candidate to lead the Mules in scoring. “Josh is the key,” he said. “Josh can light it up. I call him the silencer. No one knows he’s there and he leaves the court, he has 12 to 18 points. When he played on the JV, he was a double-digit scorer.” The coaching staff is also excited about speedy sophomore guard Chad Wesley, who should pile up the assists offensively while “harassing the ball all over the court” on defense, according to Aksionoff. The Mules are in the largest conference in Nassau and will play 16 conference games.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Princia Ulysee

Schedule BOYS December 14 16 18 22

Wheatley 7:00 p.m. @ C.S. Harbor 7:00 p.m. @ Oyster Bay 12:00 p.m. @ Friends Academy 7:00 p.m.

January 4 7 10 12 15 18 21

East Rockaway @ Locust Valley Carle Place West Hempstead @ Wheatley C.S. Harbor Oyster Bay

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 1 4 7 9 11

Friends Academy @ East Rockaway Locust Valley @ Carle Place @ West Hempstead

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 16 18 22

@ Wheatley C.S. Harbor Oyster Bay Friends Academy

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 4 7 10 12 15 18 21 28

@ East Rockaway Locust Valley @ Carle Place @ West Hempstead Wheatley @ C.S. Harbor @ Oyster Bay Carle Place

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 1 4 7 11

@ Friends Academy East Rockaway @ Locust Valley West Hempstead

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m.

Photos by Jeff Wilson

HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

MEPHAM Pirates return deep roster By DAVID WEINGRAD

of kids we have.”

ust prior to Thanksgiving, Mepham boys’ basketball head coach Bob Kaible was still settling into his new gig after nearly a decade coaching the Island Trees girls’ team. While he was still trying to find the right formula for the Pirates, it wasn’t lost on him that he inherited a deep roster of talented athletes. Among them, Kaible was well aware of the reputation of senior guard Robert Tansey, and that was immediately confirmed during opening tryouts. Kaible said he was struck by the guard’s court presence both on and off the ball, as well as his shooting range. “He’s going to carry a lot of the scoring for us,” the coach said. He also lauded the versatility of his other signature players, including sophomore Kieran Kehoe, who he expects to carry much of the workload offensively alongside Tansey. “I can see him being a force for us,” said Kaible. “This year, but more so in the years to come.” Junior Kevin Perry stands as one the team’s tallest players at 6’5”, and Kaible said he expects him to do much of the rim protection and rebounding. Mitch Savalli, an athletic sophomore, also projects to pad the stat sheet and has stood out to Kaible as a hustler and natural leader. With a relatively young squad, Kaible expressed excitement over the return of senior Timmy Burns, who has missed time with an ACL tear. “Kids look up to him,” he said. “He’s a gritty guy who knows what he is doing on the court.” Kaible said he wants his team’s M.O. to be its defensive intensity and rebounding. “We want to play extremely hard,” he said “Push the ball in transition a lot. Wear on some teams that may not have the depth we have. I’m really enthusiastic about the type

PIRATES LED BY TOP VERSATILE ATHLETES In his 18 years coaching the program, Jim Mulvey said he can’t recall having a team with three college-bound Division-1 athletes – only none of them will be playing basketball. It was part of a successful recruitment effort to tap into the school’s successful fall and spring programs to lure students into honing their basketball skills this winter. “These kids play other sports, which I love,” he said. That starts with senior guard Hailey Guerrero, an All-County junior last year who will be playing Division-1 softball at Stony Brook next fall. “She’s a quiet leader,” said Mulvey, noting her two-way skills as a strong defender. “We’re going to rely a lot on her this year.” Another Division-1 bound senior is Alanna Morse, who Mulvey hopes will return in January after breaking her wrist before tryouts began. She, too, is a softball star who will stay local at Hofstra. Guerrero and Morse will share the captainship with senior Riley Clark, who will be the team’s big presence inside this season and a top rebounder. Perhaps the most athletic of the bunch, said Mulvey, is Luciana Setteducate, who will lace up her soccer cleats for Stony Brook next year. “She’s just a workhorse,” the coach said, “she will do anything defensively.” Rounding out the starting five will be freshman Makayla Daube and sophomore Ashley Felsberg. Seniors Kerri Hatcliffe, Kayla Weber and Kaitlyn Smith will also

J

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be impact players off the bench. Coaching a team of proven athletes will allow Mulvey to play an up-tempo style and eases his worry that his players can handle high-pressure situations. “We’re trying to do more skill work with these athletes to get them up and down the court,” said Mulvey. “It’s an attitude, effort and energy team. They’re just great kids that care about each other.”

Robert Tansey

Schedule BOYS December 17 21

@ G.N. South New Hyde Park

7:00 p.m. 6:30 p.m.

January 6 8 11 14 22 28

Long Beach @ MacArthur @ G.N. North Jericho G.N. South @ New Hyde Park

6:30 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8 11

@ Long Beach MacArthur G.N. North @ Jericho

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 17 21

Hailey Guerrero

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

G.N. South @ New Hyde Park

7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

January 5 8 11 14 22 28

@ Long Beach MacArthur G.N. North @ Jericho @ G.N. South New Hyde Park

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8 11

Long Beach @ MacArthur @ G.N. North Jericho

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

Photos by Donovan Berthoud

December 30, 2021 — 29


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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

OCEANSIDE Sailors boast sizeable expectations By GARRETT D. URIBE

A

hungry Oceanside squad is coming back for seconds after tasting success under new head coach Ed Risener – whose club bounced off its 4-15 performance in 2019-20 to finish 4-3 overall and 4-1 in league, virtually tying for second place in Nassau Conference AA1. Four starters return for the Sailors, including All-Conference juniors Logan Lyson (forward, 12.5 points per game) and Matt Amitrano (guard, 7.7), as Oceanside fields a seasoned starting five with an average height of just over 6-foot-3.

Brianna Amenta

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“We look good getting off the bus,” observed Risener, whose team hosted Massapequa to open its AA1 schedule. “But we’re versatile. We can be really big, and also play small, more up and down. Even our big guys are athletic, so man-to-man we can switch and compete in different styles.” Boasting size from post to perimeter, Oceanside looks perhaps most imposing down low, with 6-3 stretch-four Liam Hannon and fellow senior forward James O’Donoghue (6-4) both credible inside-outside threats. “Liam’s possibly our most complete player,” Risener said. “He can initiate offense, also guard all five positions. James provides a lot of versatility. He can work inside and also step out and shoot the three.” Junior point guard Jacob Raphan joins the 6-1 Amitrano in the Sailors’ starting backcourt, with guards Michael Drake (senior) and Anthony Rodriguez (junior) getting regular minutes off the bench, and 6-4 senior Dillon Mullin rotating in at forward when not tapped to start. “We have the ability to match up against different things teams will throw at us,” Risener said. “Jacob’s a tough kid who runs the show for us. Matt’s probably our best athlete, a great shooter. Dillon’s an imposing presence in the paint.” Added Risener: “Last season was a crash course. This year our goal is to compete for a conference championship.” SAILORS AIM TO CONTINUE MOMENTUM While it’s hard to ignore the fact that Brianna Amenta has arrived – and in no small measure – fifth-year head coach Jared Stoler is quick to stress that the Sailors won’t be a one-person band.

The latest prodigy to ply her trade in Oceanside’s backcourt, Amenta – now a third year-starting point guard – paced the Sailors (4-2) last winter with 9.3 ppg as a freshman. She returns – with scoring support from the likes of fellow All-Conference honoree Natalie Medugno (senior) and others – to lead Oceanside back into AA1 on the hunt for its first postseason appearance under Stoler. “We’re definitely expecting big things from Brianna,” said Stoler, whose team clashes with the likes of Syosset, Massapequa and Freeport in conference play. “Especially having all that experience. We’re fortunate, too, that we have a lot of girls who can shoot. We became more aggressive last season, and now we’re trying to roll that momentum into this year.” The multitalented, 5-9 Medugno returns at forward, with senior Julia Lane becoming her starting frontcourt mate. “Natalie’s freakishly athletic,” Stoler said of the Cornell University soccer scholarship awardee. “She has a great shot, can get steals almost by accident. Julia’s excellent defensively, someone we expect a lot from.” Senior Samantha Reyer moves from sixth man to start at the two spot, while sophomore Samantha Farsky is a precocious backup for either guard who will see her share of minutes. “Samantha Reyer has a great shot to help us offensively,” Stoler said. “Sammie Farsky’s someone we expect to be a big contributor. Her and Brianna, the ball will be in their hands a lot.” On paper it would seem that the pieces are in place to prompt discussion of a Sailors postseason. “I’m certainly optimistic,” Stoler said. “I don’t see why we can’t be competitive with everyone.”

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Liam Hannon

Schedule BOYS December 15

Massapequa

22

@ Port Washington

18 Freeport MATT GUILFOYLE

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 4 7 12 15 18 21 22

@ Hempstead Farmingdale Uniiondale @ Syosset @ Massapequa @ Freeport Port Washington

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

February 1 4 9 12

Hempstead @ Farmingdale @ Uniondale Syosset

7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 15 18 22

@ Massapequa @ Freeport Port Washington

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 4 8 12 15 18 21 22

Hempstead 5:00 p.m. @ Farmingdale 12:00 p.m. @ Uniiondale 5:00 p.m. Syosset 12:00 p.m. Massapequa 7:00 p.m. Freeport 6:15 p.m. @ Port Washington 12:00 p.m.

February 1 4 9 12

@ Hempstead Farmingdale Uniondale @ Syosset

5:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m.

Photos by Brian Ballweg

December 30, 2021 — 31


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HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

SEAFORD Senior-led Vikings eye playoffs By ANDREW COEN

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alph Rossetti enters his 40th season as Seaford’s boys basketball head coach looking to build off a successful shortened 2021 campaign. While Seaford graduated some key pieces from last year’s abridged season due to the pandemic that finished at 4-4, Rossetti hopes an experienced senior group can lead the Vikings to a playoff spot.

Jamie Horodecki

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retirement of longtime head coach Bob Vachris. Bartkus takes over the program after coaching JV the past four years in addition to also coaching JV volleyball and girls lacrosse. “It’s nice because I have had all these girls years ago at some point,” said Bartkus in reference to the multiple sports she has coached at Seaford. “I have had every single one of these girls in one capacity or another so I know the way they work and think and are just going to try to play to their strengths.” The Vikings return seven seniors from last year’s 2-4 that was season shortened by Covid-19, but were dealt a blow when starting center Julia Saulpaugh suffered a season-ending ACL tear in October. Alexandra Leggio will now look to fill the void inside left by Saulpaugh along with Jaime Horodecki at forward. Twin sister guards Parker Surace and Brooke Surace are also back to lead the backcourt. Junior guard Danielle McHugh is slotted to be starting point guard in her first season on varsity. Senior guards Emma Williamson and Meghan Haug will be taking on key minutes off the bench. Sophomores Amanda Williamson (guard) and Daniella Stek (forward) along with junior Nicole Nietsch (guard) are varsity newcomers who add more athleticism to Seaford’s rotation, which Bartkus said will be given their fast-paced style of play. Seaford will compete in Conference V, which features Wantagh, North Shore, Clarke, Island Trees and Lawrence. “Being in the mix with Wantagh and North Shore for the top three would be awesome and then finding our way into the playoffs FAMILIARITY A by doing that,” Bartkus said. “We KEY FOR VIKINGS will capitalize by how well we Seaford girls’ basketball begins a new era this winter with a know each other on and off the court.” familiar face. Stephanie Bartkus is now leading the Viking bench after the “We have 17 kids on the team with nine of them seniors and we feel we can be competitive,” said Rossetti, who has won 372 games in his four decades on the Seaford bench and captured a Nassau County title in 1998. “It’s a very cohesive team.” Seniors Evan Block, Jack Murphy and Chris Navin provide veteran leadership as the team’s core returning players. Block, a reigning All-Conference selection, scored 16 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in Seaford’s 60-57 win at Wantagh last season. A number of other Seaford players are in line to contribute valuable minutes, including senior guards Cameron Connelly, Tom Koford and John Raucci. Sophomore center Devin O’Donnell and junior forward Nicholas Appollo could be key pieces to the Vikings’ inside game. Rossetti said he hopes to have a deep bench this season, but won’t truly know what his rotation will look like until the non-league schedule commences in December. “It’s hard to tell when you are playing against yourself,” Rossetti said. “You could look good in practice against your second team and then when you play another team that is more talented it’s a little bit different.” Seaford will compete in a challenging conference that includes Wantagh, Clarke, Island Trees, North Shore and Lawrence. The Vikings can earn a spot in the Nassau County Class A playoffs with a .500 or better league record. “I think we are going to be competitive in our conference,” Rossetti said.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Evan Block

Schedule BOYS January 5 7 11 14 19 22 28

North Shore @ Island Trees Clarke @ Lawrence @ Wantagh Wantagh Lawrence

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8

@ North Shore Island Trees @ Clarke

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 17 21

@ Island Trees Plainedge Lawrence

7:00 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 5 11 13 19 22 28

@ Wantagh @ Clarke North Shore Island Trees @ Plainedge @ Lawrence

5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

February 2 8 11

Wantagh Clarke @ North Shore

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

Photos by Neil Miller

December 30, 2021 — 33


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

SEWANHAKA Indians equipped for deep run By JAMIE deJONG

on both sides of the ball. Denhart doesn’t have a discernable flaw in his game, as Allen stated “he pretewanhaka’s boys’ basketball ty much does everything for us.” team is coming off a success- Senior combo guard Tyler Harts will ful shortened season, as the start and utilize his 6-foot-5 frame to generate mismatches on offense team finished with a 5-3 record. With most of the projected starters and be a versatile and switchable asset on defense. being guys who have had sigSenior Christopher Cherry will nificant longevity in the program, operate as a primary scoring guard, as well as the team having some intriguing underclassmen, expecta- as his central prerogative will be tions are rightly quite high for this to initiate easy offense for the team as a shooter and as a passer. upcoming season. “Our goal every year is to win Senior J’Den Lloyd is a starting forward, as he will combine excepa championship, and I think we tional rebounding capabilities with have a lot of talent,” head coach competent ball-handling. Senior Jason Allen stated. “It’s really just Jonathan Edouard will utilize his moving the chess pieces in the size to provide a sturdy interior right direction.” presence. Sophomores Jordan Sewanhaka will rely heavily on senior Kamren Denhart, as the Tucker and Dylan McLennon will All-County guard will look to lead provide key minutes off the bench. For the Indians, this season the team and insert his dominance will be determined by how well they utilize the immense talent they possess. “I have a really good team and I don’t even know what the ceiling is for us yet,” Allen explained. “I think we’ll be one of the better teams in the county. I think we’ll compete for a championship in our league, and I think that we’ll be a very good team in the playoffs.”

S

Charnelle Miller

34 — December 30, 2021

INDIANS WORK TOWARD PLAYOFF GOAL The Sewanhaka girls are looking to build upon progress made in last season’s muddled campaign, where the team went 3-5. However, with the returning talent and the laudable work ethic the team has demonstrated to this point, head coach Alex Soupios is confident in his group. “These girls are doing the right things to peak at the right time,” Soupios said. “They’re staying after to get shots up and as a coach you

can’t ask for anything more than that.” Senior Charnelle Miller is going to be the ultimate Swiss army knife for the Indians, as she will start and play both guard and forward. Her immense versatility and skill set will be a major catalyst in determining the team’s fate. “She is going to be our everything this year,” Soupios noted. Senior Laura MarciaBodden will start at point for the team, as her unselfish play style lends itself to the point. Junior Jayda Brown will be the primary rim protector and rebounder, and has the potential to be a dominant force on the inside. “The girls know that if Jayda becomes dangerous inside then it’ll help the guards and it’ll open everything up,” Soupios said. Junior Kayla Grant will be the starting small forward, and by all accounts has improved tremendously since last year. Freshman Thalia Fowler will contribute despite her age. The rest of the rotation will consist of junior Kernyse BenitoJones, senior Chastidy Adams, sophomore Susie Aquino, sophomores Ralanadae Kayo, Mariah Wolfe, Jadin Rolling, and freshman Janiya Grant. Soupios believes the early progressions the team has made could be indicative of a special season. “They’re starting to get really comfortable together,” Soupios said. “They’re starting to slide into positions and getting to know their roles right now. I love these kids; they really do love basketball.” He concluded: “The goal is always to make the playoffs. Whether it’s as one of the top seeds or sliding in at either the third or fourth spot because we know that once you’re in anything can happen.”

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Kamren Denhart

Schedule BOYS

December MATT GUILFOYLE 14 17

Roslyn @ Garden City

5:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m.

January 5 8 11 14 19 22

@ Carey Elmont Calhoun @ Glen Cove @ Roslyn Garden City

4:30 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8 11

Carey @ Elmont @ Calhoun Glen Cove

4:30 p.m. 10:00 a.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 17

@ Roslyn Garden City

5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

January 5 8 11 14 19 22

Carey @ Elmont @ Calhoun Glen Cove Roslyn @ Garden City

4:30 p.m. 10:00 a.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

February 1 5 8 11

@ Carey Elmont Calhoun @ Glen Cove

4:30 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

Photos by Brian Ballweg HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


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2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

SOUTH SIDE Cyclones starting with clean slate By TONY BELLISSIMO

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ith only one returning starter from a Covidshortened five-game season, what South Side lacks in experience it hopes to make up for in size, quickness and depth. “Our coaching staff took the approach that we’re starting brand new,” head coach Jerry D’Angelo said. “We had maybe 50 percent of our normal offseason and we’re trying to bring the guys up to speed as quickly as we can. I definitely like what I’ve seen so far.” The Cyclones, who played in the Nassau Class A title game in 2019-2020, are comprised of four seniors, six juniors and three 6-foot5-plus sophomores. D’Angelo expects Hewlett and Manhasset to be the stiffest competition among conference foes and said his team will need to “play hard and fast all the time.” Senior guard Chris Goldstein started all five games last season and will work at the point as well off-the-ball. “He’s very quick and athletic, and a good shooter,” said D’Angelo, who mentioned junior James Bivona as another option at the point. Senior Pat Erickson is a hardworking forward who averaged more than 15 minutes per game. “He’s extremely aggressive and also a leader,” D’Angelo said. “He’ll crash the boards.” Junior Robert Pericolosi is a 6-3 guard who brings defensive grit and the ability to score in the half-court as well as in transition. Senior Luke Schwartzberg is a longdistance shooter and junior Jamie Murphy can make things happen in the open floor and also has long range. Junior Josh Garelle adds depth to the backcourt. Opponents will be hardpressed to match South Side’s size

36 — December 30, 2021

in the paint. Sophomore Ryan Kennedy is 6-5 and can shoot, handle and rebound. Classmates Matt Arnott (6-6) and Patrick Mullen (6-5) will also contribute. All three are first-year varsity players. “We have a lot of work to do and experience to gain,” D’Angelo said. “We want to be the best version of ourselves in February.” CYCLONES HAVE POTENTIAL TO GO FAR It’s been a long time since South Side wasn’t involved in the postseason dance and this winter shouldn’t be any different based on its talent, depth and experience. The Cyclones, 5-1 last season, reached the Class A quarterfinals the last time Nassau conducted playoffs in 2019-2020 and have been perennial contenders for a conference title during head coach Dan Ferrick’s tenure. Leading the way in Ferrick’s seventh season at the helm are senior guards Bridget Basile and Maggie Long. Both have All-County campaigns under their belts. Basile is a returning captain who led the team in scoring down the stretch of its last playoff run. “She’s probably the most improved player I’ve had from their freshman to senior years,” Ferrick said of Basile, who has perimeter shooting range and a strong defensive presence. The 5-foot-10 Long, a D1 lacrosse recruit, is expected to rejoin the team in January and can make things happen anywhere on the court. “Maggie does everything well and makes everyone else around her better,” Ferrick said of Long, who scored 22 in a victory over Division. Senior Emily Iacobellis is

another proven guard with versatility. She has shooting range and the ability to drive, Ferrick noted, and also serves as a defensive stopper. She was Honorable Mention AllCounty last season. Additional weapons in the backcourt are sophomores Dakota Evans and Kyla Murphy. Evans thrived off the bench as a tremendous shooter last winter on the way to earning All-Conference honors. Freshman Charlotte Rathjen is athletic, quick and tall and can play guard or forward. As for true forwards, South Side has senior Ava Doreste, who can rebound and worked hard on developing her shooting touch during the offseason, and 6-footers Amanda Waiters, a senior, and Ava Kelly, a junior. On paper, the Cyclones’ biggest hurdles to a conference crown are Hewlett, Manhasset and revamped Kennedy.

Chris Goldstein

Schedule BOYS

December MATT GUILFOYLE 14 16 21

@ Division Roosevelt @ Kennedy

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

January 8 11 14 19 22 28

@ Hewlett Manhasset V.S. North Division @ Roosevelt Kennedy

12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 5 8 11

Hewlett @ Manhasset @ V.S. North

12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 16 21

Division @ Roosevelt Kennedy

7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January

Bridget Basile

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

8 11 14 19 22 28

Hewlett @ Manhasset @ V.S. North @ Division Roosevelt @ Kennedy

12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:15 p.m.

February 5 8 11

@ Hewlett Manhasset V.S. North

12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

Photos by Donovan Berthoud HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

V.S. CENTRAL Eagles need some time to jell By TONY BELLISSIMO

but from what I hear the rest of the conference is going to be up for grabs.” Coming off a highly successful booming number of hopeseason that saw them win 7 of fuls took part in tryouts for Valley Stream Central’s bas- 8 games, the Eagles are back in Class AA following a handful of ketball program this winter. New campaigns in Class A. They’ll face varsity head coach Tim O’Hagan said 220 kids over six grade levels Baldwin, East Meadow, Herricks, Hicksville, Plainview and Westbury had their skills on display and twice apiece. there’s a combined 33 (18 on JV) “The guys want to win and on the high school teams. they want to work,” O’Hagan said. “I was blown away by the Senior guard Malik Moore interest and it’s an outstanding group of kids,” O’Hagan said. “It’s is the go-to on offense, O’Hagan said, after averaging 6.5 points per taking a little while to get up to game. He’s an athletic slasher who speed. We took some lumps in a scrimmage against Manhasset but can also score from outside. O’Hagan said he’s impressed we played better our next time out. “I think we’ll start to get mov- by the talents of sophomore wing Saige Frisco, a tremendous shooter ing around the middle of January and make a push for the playoffs,” and more. Senior Jayden Vera is another guard but with good size he added. “Baldwin is Baldwin, and a post-up game. Senior Jasiah Rodway is lightning-quick at the point and will need to distribute and defend. Senior center Daniel Penubothula is Central’s X-factor. He’s 6-foot-7 and a major presence in the paint. He’s in the midst of recovering from a knee injury. Senior forward Christian Akaeze has varsity experience and does a lot of things not found in a boxscore, O’Hagan said.

A

Ariana Haughton

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EAGLES ARE A WORK IN PROGRESS Numbers are an issue for Central’s girls’ program and head coach Malyssa Thorngren expects to maintain a varsity roster of 10 — up from 7 last winter — “unless someone progresses and

warrants a call-up,” she said. The Eagles capped an otherwise difficult Covid-shortened season with their only victory over New Hyde Park but return only two participants from that game roster — sophomore Faizat Shekoni who had 8 points and junior Danica Pryce who had 3. “We’re hurting for experience and numbers, and the offseason was tough because we weren’t able to hold our usual clinics,” Thorngren said. “It’s going to be interesting going back to Class AA and we booked a lot of quality opponents in non-leagues.” The Eagles will prepare for a challenging conference slate by facing the likes of South Side, Hewlett and Bethpage, as well as participating in the prestigious Freeport Tournament. The return of senior point guard Ariana Haughton to the district is a huge plus, Thorngren said. Haughton spent two years at Christ The King and brings a great handle, court vision and defensive skills. “Ariana is a strong floor leader and the position was going to be a concern, so it’s nice to have her back,” Thorngren said. Sophomore Alyssa Santiago comes off an All-County soccer season and is a standout athlete who hustles all over the court and drives to the rim. Pryce is another scrappy player who rebounds well for a guard and will be counted on to help lead the defense. Senior Faizah Munawar is back on the hardwood after not playing last season and is a “great rebounder and defender in the paint,” Thorngren said, and has a nice elbow jumper. Shekoni is a returning varsity forward who saw quite a bit of playing time last winter and turned her offense up a notch down the stretch.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Malik Moore

Schedule

BOYS December 15 22

Baldwin @ Hicksville

6:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

January 4 7 12 15 18 22

Westbury @ Herricks Plainview @ East Meadow @ Baldwin Hicksville

6:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

February 1 4 9 12

@ Westbury Herricks @ Plainview East Meadow

6:15 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 15 22

@ Baldwin Hicksville

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 4 7 12 15 18 22

@ Westbury Herricks @ Plainview East Meadow Baldwin @ Hicksville

6:15 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

February 1 4 9 12

Westbury @ Herricks Plainview @ East Meadow

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m.

Photos by Donovan Berthoud December 30, 2021 — 37


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

V.S. NORTH Spartans hope to trend ‘North’ By BRIAN KACHARABA

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new era begins for the Valley Stream North boys’ basketball team. Former Lynbrook star Michael McVeigh takes over as the Spartans’ new coach after spending three seasons as Plainview’s JV bench boss. McVeigh, who also played at Cortland, is hoping to install a team-first mentality in which everyone on the floor gets involved in the play.

Kayla Santo

“I’m just trying to go there and instill that we play as a team,” he said. “We’re going to play team defense, we’re going to play together on offense and we’re going to be unselfish and share the ball. I’ve got a lot of kids that are working so hard for the first couple of weeks.” McVeigh takes over a team that went 2-5 during the abbreviated winter season and graduated leading scorer Luke Sibblies (12.5 ppg). But McVeigh hopes the returning seniors can fill the void with their skills and leadership and lead the way against strong conference foes such as Hewlett, Manhasset and South Side. “We have a good group of seniors that do a nice job of leading the team and making sure that everybody’s playing hard,” McVeigh observed. Two of those seniors, guard Godwin Eyiuche and power forward Malcom Harrington, averaged over 11 points a game last season and will be looked upon to lead the offense as well as senior guard Giovanni Grey, who returns after missing the winter season. Eyiuche is a huge 3-point threat and Grey showed his offensive potential with eight double-digit point games in 2019-20, including 26 against North Shore. The other spots have yet to be decided but should be among a pool of senior forwards such as Harpreet Singh, Brian Farrell and Aadil Alli. Also seeing time at guard will be senior Vaughn Candelario, a tenacious defender, and two other scorers in sophomore Dom Obukwelu and junior Aaron Rodriguez. FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT FOR SPARTANS North’s girls’ team is coming off a tough season. The Spartans lost all five of their games, includ-

38 — December 30, 2021

ing a heartbreaking overtime defeat to Glen Cove in the finale, and had to sit out two weeks of an already abbreviated schedule due to the pandemic. The roster will be noticeably younger and inexperienced after nine players from last year’s squad graduated, but three girls that are returning occupied the top spots in scoring. Head coach George Karahalios said the team may still struggle this winter, but the longterm outlook is promising. “We may be one or two years out of [a playoff spot],” he said. “I believe this year will be better than last year, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I’m looking forward to getting the season started.” The projected starting lineup will feature two juniors and three sophomores. Swingman Gabriela Mensah averaged 12 points a game last season and fellow junior Kayla Santo was just behind at 11.8 at center after her 20-point outburst against Glen Cove. Sophomore point guard Elena Magno (5.6) also had her best game against Glen Cove with 10 points. Karahalios said Santo has the potential to be even better this season with more consistency and one more year of maturity should help Mensah improve her court vision and decision making. Mango will continue to be the main distributor to go with her tenacious defense. Sophomore forwards Alyanna Nadal and Isabella Feldman, both JV callups, should round out the starting five. Karahalios lauded Nadal for her work ethic, athleticism, and basketball IQ, and Feldman’s shooting accuracy would have earned her a spot on the varsity team if the JV roster wasn’t depleted. Senior Gabriella Rettagliata is

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Godwin Eyiuche

back with the team after not playing last season and is expected to provide a defensive spark off the bench.

Schedule BOYS

MATT GUILFOYLE December 14 21

Manhasset @ Hewlett

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 5 8 11 14 19 28

Kennedy @ Division Roosevelt @ South Side @ Manhasset Hewlett

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 1 5 8 11

@ Kennedy Division @ Roosevelt South Side

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

14 21

@ Manhasset Hewlett

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December January 4 8 11 14 19 28

@ Kennedy Division @ Roosevelt South Side Manhasset @ Hewlett

7:15 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8 11

Kennedy @ Division Roosevelt @ South Side

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

Photos by Neil Miller HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

V.S. SOUTH Falcons seek flight to playoffs By TONY BELLISSIMO

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ith only five games last season and limited practices due to Covid protocols, Valley Stream South boys’ basketball head coach Mike O’Brien said he began the

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offseason program much earlier than usual. “We played in some tournaments over the summer and had double-digit workouts where the turnout was solid,” he said. “One really nice thing so far is how competitive the kids have been against each other in practice. I think we’re going to go pretty deep into the bench.” O’Brien feels the Falcons’ conference is “completely up for grabs” and said he’d be disappointed if they weren’t participating in the Nassau Class A playoffs come mid-February. They’ll tangle with Academy Charter, Bethpage, Floral Park, Mineola, Lynbrook and Plainedge twice apiece. A starting backcourt of seniors Brady Manning and Ralston Campbell, and freshman Brady Delvalle at the point, will look to set the tone, O’Brien said. Manning and Campbell bring similar skills and both got a taste of what it takes to get the job done at the varsity level. “Brady [Manning] has a ton of skill and is probably our best shooter,” O’Brien said. The coach noted Campbell improved his game by leaps and bounds over the summer, especially his jumper to go with aggressive moves to the basket. Delvalle is a standout twoway player who will lead the man-to-man defense and make smart decisions with the ball. “He’s young but he’s got tremendous basketball IQ and has a chance to be our top all-around player,” said O’Brien, who added junior Richard Irotugo provides depth. Projected major contributors up front, senior Amir Green and junior Nicholas Parisi, are both around 6-foot-4. Green has guardtype skills and his jumping ability makes him tough on the boards, while Parisi is a typical power forward with strong rebounding and physicality. Senior Andrew Francis brings a combination of energy and toughness.

FALCONS FOCUS ON BUILDING FUNDAMENTALS Just getting on the court last season was satisfying enough for Valley Stream South’s girls’ program, which is struggling with participation numbers and went without a JV team. “It was just a blur,” head driving to coach Deirdre Gordon said of the shortened spring season. “We were the basket,” Gordon said. super young and didn’t get all the games in, but everyone was really happy to be playing.” Elizabeth Traill With 18 girls in the program, Gordon expects to slide some back and forth between the varsity and JV so everyone gets playing time at some level. “We’re focusing on fundamentals and hoping some of the chemistry carries over from the spring,” she said. “We’re trying to build up the individual skills and be as competitive as we can be.” Senior captains Elizabeth Traill and Sierra Harris lead the way for Schedule the Falcons, who face a difficult BOYS conference schedule that includes December MATT GUILFOYLE Floral Park, Plainedge, Lynbrook, 14 @ Academy Charter 7:00 p.m. North Shore and Bethpage. Traill will 17 Bethpage 7:00 p.m. 21 @ Floral Park 5:00 p.m. run the show from point guard and January has senior Liz Singh and junior Laura 8 @ Lynbrook 12:00 p.m. Cardona as backcourt mates. Harris 11 Mineola 7:00 p.m. brings a solid inside/outside game. 14 Plainedge 7:00 p.m. 19 Academy Charter 7:00 p.m. “Elizabeth is a very good 22 @ Bethpage 12:00 p.m. leader with a strong sense of the 28 Floral Park 7:00 p.m. game,” Gordon said of Traill. “She February has shooting range and is going to 5 Lynbrook 12:00 p.m. 8 @ Mineola 6:45 p.m. do everything in her power to make 11 @ Plainedge 5:00 p.m. things happen.” Harris can do some of the dirty GIRLS work in the paint and also shoots December well from the outside. “She’s not a 16 @ Bethpage 5:00 p.m. 21 Floral Park 7:00 p.m. big scorer but she’ll contribute and moves well without the ball and January rebounds,” Gordon said. 5 @ North Shore 5:00 p.m. 7 Lynbrook 5:00 p.m. Junior LaMya Mays is a return11 @ Mineola 6:45 p.m. ing starter at forward and will be 14 @ Plainedge 5:00 p.m. 22 Bethpage 12:00 p.m. counted on to crash the boards and 28 @ Floral Park 5:00 p.m. get some points on putbacks. At February center, junior Christina Barkolas is 2 North Shore 7:00 p.m. 5-foot-11 and expected to log major 3 @ Lynbrook 4:45 p.m. 8 Mineola 7:00 p.m. minutes after getting her feet wet at 11 Plainedge 7:00 p.m. the varsity level last season. “She’s working on her post moves and

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Photos by Ron Manfredi

December 30, 2021 — 39


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2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

WANTAGH

Warriors focus on defense, rebounding By ANDREW COEN

N

Madison Taylor was a freshman. Now Taylor, who will play college lacrosse at Northwestern, is the lone senior on a team with nine returning players looking to go on another deep postseason run. “The way she carries herself on the basketball court you’d think she would be playing college basketball instead of college lacrosse,” said longtime Wantagh head coach Stan Bujacich of Taylor, who earned All-County and conference defensive player of the year honors as a junior. “She is just amazing.” Taylor is one of two returning starters along with junior Ava Kornbluth, who can play guard or forward. Freshman Juliana Cerasi is also slated to take start after earning some varsity minutes as an eighth grader last season. A number of returning players are in the mix for starting roles or valuable roles off the bench including juniors Julia Nicholson, Angela Pellicoro, Katherine Killian and Julia Allen. Sophomores Casey Kissinge and Brighid Smith along with freshman Skylar Mondelli following short varsity seasons last year. Juniors Meghan Tucker, Jennifer Gendels will also look to contribute to the Warriors’ rotation in their first years on varsity. Wantagh returns to Conference A-V, which features Seaford, North Shore, Clarke, Lawrence and Island Trees. Bujacich said the team has the ability to take the conference if the many talented players WARRIORS BRING embrace their roles whether startTALENT AND EXPERIENCE ing or providing a spark off the After a 6-2 season with no chance to compete in the playoffs bench. “Once we settle in on a rotadue the pandemic last winter, tion basis I think we will be fine,” Wantagh is eager to once again he said. “I think this is one of the compete for a title. most athletic teams we have had The Warriors are three years removed from falling in the Nassau in years.” County Class A finals to Sewanhaka when veteran point guard

and if we have the athletes here there is no reason why we can’t.” Simeone got a boost for his ew Wantagh boys’ basfirst season on the Warriors’ bench ketball head coach Matt Simeone arrives with some with the arrival of senior Jakai Lesfamiliarity with his new team after ter, who was a standout Catholic League player the last two years at serving as an assistant football St. Dominic. The versatile 6-foot-3 coach the past 11 years. Lester has a strong jump shot and Six of Simeone’s football players help comprise the Wantagh driving ability along with being a top defender. roster, which he hopes provides Senior Mike Handell, an athleticism and toughness on the All-County volleyball player, is a defensive end of the floor to a team aiming for the program’s first returning starter from last year’s 4-3 season that was shortened playoff spot in five years. “I want to play strong defense due to the pandemic. Drew Paland rebound,” said Simeone, a for- ladino, who was an All-County football selection, is another starter mer longtime assistant basketball back from last season who has coach at Friends Academy. “That also emerged as one of the team will lead to helping us offensively leaders. but we have to play defense first Junior Danny Fisenne is slated to start at point guard after leading the junior varsity backcourt last year. Simeone is also looking for big contributions this season from juniors Tom Cupelli and Ryan Daly after they shined on JV. Wantagh will compete in a conference that includes Seaford, Clarke, Island Trees, North Shore and Lawrence. “If Jakai can play the way I think he can I think he can be one of the best players in the conference and if we gel together and play around him I think we can finish in the top two in the conference,” Simeone said.

Mike Handel

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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

Madison Taylor

Schedule MATT GUILFOYLE BOYS January 5 8 12 14 19 22 28

@ Island Trees Clarke Lawrence @ North Shore Seaford @ Seaford @ North Shore

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 5 8

Island Trees @ Clarke @ Lawrence

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

GIRLS December 14 21

Lawrence @ North Shore

5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

January 5 8 11 14 19 28

Seaford @ Clarke Floral Park Island Trees @ Lawrence North Shore

5:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

February 2 4 8 11

@ Seaford Clarke @ Floral Park @ Island Trees

7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

Photos by Brian Ballweg

December 30, 2021 — 41


2021-22 HERALD High School Basketball Preview

WEST HEMPSTEAD Rams carry high expectations By TONY BELLISSIMO

F

or the first time in more than 15 years, someone other than Ed Cosgrove is West Hempstead boys’ basketball’s bench boss. Joe Thomas takes over the helm of the Rams and saw a resurgence of interest at tryouts. He kept 14 on the roster and feels the team’s athleticism can separate it from the pack in a wide-open Conference B/C which includes defending county champion Malverne, Friends Academy and East Rockaway. “It was nice the kids got to play last season but it was tough on them playing in front of hardly any fans,” Thomas said. “The competitiveness is back to where it used to be and I think we can make a name for ourselves and do really well.” The new coach said he’s challenged senior Simeon Simms, a 6-foot-7 presence in the frontcourt entering his third varsity campaign, to break the program’s singleseason shot-blocking record. “He has the talent to dominate on the boards and is capable of a doubledouble any night,” Thomas said of Simms, who was slowed early in camp by an ankle injury. Senior Jourdan Mitchell is another big forward and brings the ability to guard anyone on the defensive end. He’s another double-double candidate, Thomas noted, and is a passionate multisport athlete. Senior wing Zadrian Budhoo will help set the defensive tone and create turnovers in addition to chipping in some offense with his moves to the rim. Senior captain Eli Rubin’s shooting talents from the outside will help the Rams stretch defenses in the half-court, Thomas said. “He’s our best shooter and a leader,” the coach noted. Freshman Isaiah Blunt is a talented lefty point guard with plenty of AAU ex42 — December 30, 2021

perience. “It’s just a matter of him getting acclimated to the speed of the varsity game,” Thomas said. Junior newcomer Chris Altidor, another lefty, is a quick guard who passes well and can score. RAMS BENEFIT FROM PLAYING TIME West Hempstead had no seniors last winter when it played six games, winning its last two. Longtime head coach Chris Van Kovics called it “a sprint,” but said getting everyone considerable playing time was the main benefit of the pandemic-shortened campaign. “It was nice to give everyone the varsity experience and hopefully we’ll be one of the four best ‘B’ teams in the conference and make the playoffs,” said Van Kovics, who guided the Rams to the Class A tournament in 2019-2020. “This was the most kids we’ve had at tryouts in about 7 years,” he added. “It was good to see.” Seniors Amanda Healy and Sanaia Estime were instrumental in helping the volleyball team make an incredible run to the county finals and are third-year performers on the hardwood. Healy is an

and can run the point occasionally. Tavarez had 18 points in last season’s finale and averaged better than 10 per game. “Isabel can shoot the 3, runs the fast break and attacks the basket,” Van Kovics said. Junior forward Chance Mingo had 17 points in the next-to-last game and hit five shots from behind the arc. She’s a returning starter with quickness, size and shooting touch. Senior Catherine Andree is another perimeter shooting threat who’ll also contribute in the post. Senior Mackenzie Cates brings height and grit to the paint. She’ll handle all the important inbounds passes, Van Kovics said. Junior Gianna Cardillo is a speedy three-sport athlete and a defensive spark, while senior Isabella Torres provides depth on the wing.

Amanda Healy

Schedule BOYS December 14 18

@ East Rockaway @ Carle Place

20 Friends Academy MATT GUILFOYLE

7:00 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 4:45 p.m.

January 4 5 7 10 12 15 18 21 22

Locust Valley 5:00 p.m. Oyster Bay 5:00 p.m. Wheatley 5:00 p.m. @ C.S. Harbor 7:00 p.m. @ Malverne 7:00 p.m. East Rockaway 12:00 p.m. @ Oyster Bay 7:00 p.m. Carle Place 4:45 p.m. @ Friends Academy 12:00 p.m.

February 4 7 9 11

@ Locust Valley @ Wheatley C.S. Harbor Malverne

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m.

GIRLS December 7 14 18

experienced point guard who’ll defend in the paint, Van Kovics said. “Amanda makes really good decisions with the ball and can score and defend,” he said. Estime, a center, is a strong rebounder, shot-blocker and tough to stop from close range. Senior Isabel Tavarez is the most experienced varsity player on the roster

@ Friends Academy 7:00 p.m. East Rockaway 6:45 p.m. Carle Place 12:00 p.m.

January 4 5 7 10 12 15 18 21 22

Jourdan Mitchell

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PREVIEW

@ Locust Valley @ Oyster Bay @ Wheatley C.S. Harbor Malverne @ East Rockaway Oyster Bay @ Carle Place Friends Academy

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m. 12:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m.

February 4 7 9 11

Locust Valley Wheatley @ C.S. Harbor @ Malverne

7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 6:45 p.m.

Photos by Donovan Berthoud

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December 30, 2021 — 43


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