Suffolk County girls basketball preivew
Sachem East has made four consecutive trips to the Suffolk Class AA finals and could make it five. Most of the team returns with senior guard Meagan Doherty as the linchpin. Junior guard Emily Carmel provides outside shooting and sophomore guard Katie Doherty and sophomore Kathleen Everson will play bigger roles.
North Babylon is coming off a 20-1 season where the only loss came in the semifinals. The Bulldogs are very young, but have players with varsity experience and talent. Sophomore Charise Wilson, a three-year starter, transferred to St. Anthony’s last week after playing two games. Freshman guard Brianna Jones is one of the most talented in her class on the Island and will take on a bigger role. Makeda Nicholas, a sophomore guard, transferred back after spending one year at Long Island Lutheran.
Lindenhurst hopes this is the season it wins a playoff game for the first time since 1987 with four returning starters. Junior forward Val Oyahkilome has received Division I interest, senior guard Colleen Ames hit 48 three-pointers last season, and senior Sammy Martinez runs the point.
Riverhead returns most of last season’s team that reached the quarterfinals. Senior guard Jalyn Brown, who averaged 15 points, and junior guard Shaniece Allen, who averaged 14 points, form a strong a backcourt. Senior forward Melodee Riley will be relied upon for rebounding. The key for the Blue Waves will forcing turnovers with their pressure defense to create chances to run.
Deer Park, which won its first county championship last season, returns senior point guard Andrea Desvignes, who averaged 16 points, five assists, and three steals last season and senior center Kelsey Dillon, who was terrific in the postseason. Junior guard Nicole Gomez and eighth grader Gianna Locker will play key roles.
Ward Melville returns four starters, including senior point guard Caysea Cohen and senior forward Meagan Murtagh.
Northport will be young after losing four starters. Junior forward Allie Clarke and junior guard Kristin Cleary are ones to watch.
Copiague made a surprising run to the semifinals last season and has just two seniors with point guard Domyae Ivory-Byrd and guard/forward Cypher McCloud. Junior Tracey McFadden will play a key role as well as freshman guard Ihnacinse Grady and eighth grader guard/forward Mikaiya Moore.
Hauppauge, which reached the playoff last season for the first time in 15 years, has nine seniors from a team that upset Lindenhurst in the first round. Junior guard Julie Williams averaged 19.8 points and the senior backcourt of Lindsay Alfano and Lauren Descalzo is strong.
Longwood went 2-12 last season and should see a major improvement with an athletic and fast team led by sophomore Kiery West and senior guard/forward Aliyah Blake.
Junior guard Kelly Bilodeau leads a competitive Whitman team.
Glenn, the defending champion, is led by senior center Allison McKenna, who averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds last season. Junior guard Emma Klis and sophomore guard Mackenzie Sivilli can shoot from the outside.
Harborfields has won three championships in the last five seasons and return three starters led by 5-11 junior forward/guard Bridgit Ryan. She’s a three-sport athlete, but focused more on basketball over the summer. The four-year player averaged 12 points as a sophomore. Senior forward Kasey Stolba and senior guard Lexi O’Connor also return.
Junior Shannon Duer, a three-year starter, is a tenacious rebounder with a 23-rebound game already this season and leads Islip. Freshman guard Alyssa Murphy and eighth-grader Italee Brown-Smikle join Duer to form a good nucleus.
Watch out for Amityville with senior forward Janiece Jenkins, a transfer from Central Islip, and senior forward Raven Price.
Southampton has been building to win a county championship. They have experienced players that have played together for a few seasons. Junior guard Paris Hodges, who averaged 18 points last season, is the linchpin. Junior forward Kesi Goree is a double-double threat. Noel Hodges, a sophomore point guard, and Cassidy Guida, a junior guard, are also ones to watch.
Hampton Bays should improve substantially after a 5-13 season behind junior center Andrea Tufano and senior guard Theresa Carey.
Center Moriches, the defending champions, already lost its top player Kelsey Glanzman for the season with a torn ACL. Junior guard Takia Plummer and junior forward Vanessa Lewis lead the way.
Wyandanch coach Warren Fuller, second all-time in the state in career wins, retired. The Warriors will be led by senior guards Jalicia Robinson and Lorenza Birt.
Southold is the favorite with eight returning players, including junior guard Sydney Campbell and junior forward Missy Rogers.
Shelter Island aims to repeat behind senior guard Kelsey McGayhey, who averaged 22 points last season.