Nassau County girls basketball preview
Reigning Long Island champion Baldwin is the favorite in Class AA. Seniors Alex Hampton (point guard) and Janae DeGraff (center) are returning starters for the Bruins and senior guards Amber Harrison and Ayanna Hudson will also play big roles. Sophomore Mariyah Butler will be an important new comer to Tom Catapano's squad, which is aiming for its third straight county title.
Massapequa returns 10 players including four starters. Juniors Morgan Roessler and Danielle Doherty are joined by sophomore Lauren VanBuren and senior Nicole Scicutella. The Chiefs will have competition in Conference I from Farmingdale, Freeport and Uniondale.
Farmingdale has three starters returning on an athletic, physical, defense-first squad. Seniors Colleen Reynolds, Kim Kolodny and Kaitlin Gaghan and junior guards Alexis Panariello and Nadine Hadnagy are joined by eight new players.
The top competition for Baldwin in Conference II is MacArthur. Senior forward Vanessa Wyckoff and juniors Jena Cozza (guard) and Courtney Noakes (forward) are returning starters for the Generals.
Uniondale lost only one player to graduation and has juniors Jayda Hyatt and Aliyah McDonald among the returning players.
Mepham and Elmont will battle it out once again in Conference III along with Herricks, which moves in from AA-II last year.
Mepham senior guard Kristen O'Brien is coming off ACL surgery last year and is approaching her 1,000th career point. Junior Nicole Castaldo will be on the inside of the Pirates all-guard lineup.
Seniors Goldie Harrison, Bria Fisher and Kyla Ridley and junior Cassandra Chery are returning starters for Elmont.
The competition will be fierce in the top-heavy Class A.
Senior point guard and three-sport star Amanda Johansen leads a North Shore squad with high expectations. Junior Erin Sheerin and freshman Alex Cantwell will also run the point in the 'System' and seniors Bridget Lincoln and Nicole Scuderi will supply offense on the wings for the Vikings' offense which has yet to stride from three-point range.
Defending Long Island champion Garden City returns eight of its top nine players -- that's the good news. The bad news for the Trojans is the one player not returning is three sport superstar Barbara Sullivan, Newsday's 2010 Nassau Player of the Year. Garden City's four returning starters are Christina Mangels on the inside, sharpshooter Kim Ryan on the wing, guard Jess Stein and forward Katie Trimmer.
Manhasset has been a pleasant surprise this season, already earning a big win over Garden City. Senior guard Halle Majorana, a Maryland-commit in lacrosse, and freshman Jacqueline Albanese look to have the Indians poised to challenge Lynbrook in A-III.
Brooke Gerstman leads county semifinalist Lynbrook. The senior point guard has already notched her 1,000th career point this year and is arguably the best public-school player in Nassau. Junior Danielle Amaya is going to be the second option on the Owls' offense which lost center Jen Fay in a transfer to Nazareth.
New Hyde Park had senior point guard Kristen Korzeinski transfer in from Holy Trinity and she has been pouring in the points thus far, scoring no less than 28 in her five games played. Senior forward Victoria Lofaro and freshman Laila Chadli will also contribute for the Gladiators.
Senior guard Tara Basile helps lead Wantagh who has a matchup advantage at center with 6-3 freshman Alex Parlato.
Sewanhaka is off to a good start and could be the favorite in A-II with junior Rachel Wisniewski and senior Celine Jolicoeur.
County finalist Division lost its top seven players to graduation. Susan Ballantyne leads the Blue Dragons, who are off to a roller coaster start with wins over Uniondale and Class B-champion Cold Spring Harbor and losses to Wantagh and Seaford.
South Side is a balanced squad which could challenge for a playoff spot out of A-I.
Cold Spring Harbor returns all major contributors from last year's county Class B championship team. Seniors Gabbie Doria and Kelly Gubitosi provide the inside presence with juniors Kelly Vassallo and Katie Durand on the wings for the Seahawks.
Senior center Jill Flecker and junior guard Samantha Burden are the top returnees for Carle Place.
Olivia McCracken is off to a great start for Wheatley.
Friends Academy and East Rockaway are the lone Class C schools in Nassau. The Quakers are led by sisters Rose and Margot Mangiarotti and Kristina Kim. Shannan Pujol will help guide the Rocks.