With just two games remaining on the schedule, the North Shore Lady Vikings basketball team (8-2) looks to avenge two OT losses to the current No. 1 and 2 teams in Conference A-IV and become co-conference champions with a keen eye looking ahead to the playoffs.
With a strong history in the playoffs and multiple county championships, North Shore looks to reclaim the throne in a somewhat unfamiliar Class A division.
“Class A is wide open this year,” North Shore head coach Keith Freund said. “Every team has flaws and every team has strengths, but there is no one dominant team or dominant player that everyone will run into.”
Although no one team is dominant, North Shore fields a very strong team once again this season. Jenny Walton, the team’s leading scorer (18 ppg) ranks ninth in scoring for all of Nassau County.
Morgan Griffin, a freshman starting point guard, averages double figure points while being a threat from behind the arc as well. “I have never had a freshman start for me at point guard,” Freund said. “Morgan has improved tremendously, especially in the press.” Although Freund was hesitant in nature to guess Griffin’s ceiling, he believes All-County and possibly All-State are within reach with continued improvement.
Gabby Scott has also been a key component in the scheme, and has been so despite coming off of a major ACL injury prior to the season. Casey Colbert, Olivia Schatz, Andrea Liotta, Kate Gilliam, Eleanor Casale and Amanda Ayres have all been in rotation as well.
North Shore will meet Wantagh (10-1) and Floral Park (9-1), the only two teams that account for any Lady Vikings’ losses in 2018-19, to close out its regular season.
The Lady Vikings played host to Wantagh back on Jan. 10, where they lost by six (55-49) in an overtime thriller in a game where they led by seven after three quarters. Scott, Walton and Griffin combined for 41 of North Shore’s 49 points.
Just a week later, North Shore lost another tough overtime game at Floral Park where they at one point trailed 30-12 before holding Floral Park to just two third-quarter points and twelve second-half points and tying the game up at 42 with just a few seconds to spare.
“They were two different game. In one we blew a big lead, and in the other we fought back from a huge deficit, both to lose in overtime,” Freund said. “We have to put together a complete game, which we have yet to do.”
Freund is also continuously learning the careful craft of coaching differently for different teams. “My job is to prepare them to play and make the right adjustments,” Freund said. “I also have to simplify things. I’m learning how to coach with a new group of girls; a group that’s more balanced and spread out with more motion.”
As for the playoffs quickly approaching, the head coach is not worried about potential seeding. “If we win both games we could be as high as 3, lose both games as low as 15. It doesn’t matter,” Freund said. “These girls never quit. They are resilient.”