Despite losing back-to-back games to Conference AA-II frontrunners MacArthur and Baldwin, a spot in the Nassau Class AA girls’ basketball playoffs was still a possibility for Valley Stream Central entering the final week of the regular season.
In an important game for both teams last Monday evening, the Lady Eagles responded with a 53-36 victory at East Meadow. Sophomore Naomi Bolasingh poured in 19 points, and senior Katie Dascher and freshman Mikala Casimir added nine apiece for Central, which pulled away with a 20-point third quarter. East Meadow’s offense was led by senior Jen Gundrum and freshman Christa SanAntonio’s 10 points apiece.
“We’re at our best when we’re working together as a team,” VSC coach Mary Parisi said. “Tonight we passed the ball really well and played tough defense. It was a must-win game.”
The Lady Eagles improved to 5-6 in conference play heading into the regular-season finale at Port Washington. A victory over the Lady Vikings would secure them a spot in the Nassau Class AA playoffs slated to begin this Friday. “Hopefully we bring the same intensity against Port Washington as we did East Meadow,” Parisi said. “We’re a pretty young team. It would be nice to make the playoffs.”
Despite the loss, Lady Jets coach Bethany LeSueur was optimistic her team still had an outside chance to squeeze into the postseason as well. “I think if we beat Hicksville, we have a shot,” she said. “We were supposed to play Hicksville last Friday before the storm hit, and then we had to refocus on Valley Stream. We can’t seem to figure them out. They’re aggressive and tough. Scoring 16 points in a half isn’t going to cut it against a team like that.”
Central, which won the first meeting at home, 64-42, on Jan. 15 behind 21 points by Dascher, led the rematch by five points after the first quarter and 28-16 at halftime. By the end of the third quarter, the margin swelled to 27. “Naomi made things difficult for them,” Parisi said of her young guard, who likes to drive to the basket.
East Meadow hadn’t played in 10 days. The Lady Jets were coming off a 48-38 win over Port Washington that saw SanAntonio score 14, Gundrum 12, and junior Rebecca Alzfan eight. “It was one of our strongest games all season,” LeSueur said. “Our shooters shot the ball well, and Jen had a big game inside.”
Central was coming off a well-played loss to MacArthur, Parisi said. Bolasingh had 17 points and junior Nia-Maya Outlaw added nine in the 63-49 setback on Feb. 5.