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Oceanside High School

Our Take - Boys

Sailors boast sizeable expectations

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.

“We look good getting off the bus,” observed Risener, whose team hosted Massapequa Dec. 15 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.”

Our Take - Girls

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 overall, 3-2 AA1) 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 the club’s 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 power 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.”

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