The drought is over.
Oceanside’s girls’ basketball team punched its first postseason ticket since 2018 with two huge home wins over Port Washington and Herricks to clinch at least a .500 record in the conference, which is one of the criteria to qualify for the playoffs.
The Sailors lost the regular-season finale at Plainview last Saturday, but still finished 7-7 in the division and 10-10 overall.
The team made it despite losing eight seniors – including four starters – last spring to graduation.
“It is a great accomplishment to them,” said head coach Jared Stoler. “It’s a testament to the hard work that we were able to make the playoffs with the inexperienced team that we had. We’re excited for ‘free basketball’ if you will. Playoff basketball.”
The Class AA playoffs start on Feb. 15 and the Sailors will head to Uniondale, with the winner facing Baldwin on Saturday.
The Sailors came out their 10-day midterm break with losses to Baldwin and East Meadow – the first and third place teams in Conference AA-2, respectively, heading into its rematch against Port Washington on Feb. 3. Oceanside lost the first meeting 43-34 to the Vikings on Jan. 6.
The game was close throughout, with the second quarter being the only one not to finish even. The teams were tied at 10 through the first eight minutes before the Sailors outscored Port 14-11 in the second. Each school scored 13 points in the third quarter and 11 in the fourth.
“We pretty much had the lead for the majority of the game,” Stoler said. “In the fourth quarter, we did some things with inexperience and have to be a little bit better at working with the lead and be able to utilize the clock. There wasn’t a situation where we had to necessarily score, but we had to play very tough defense towards the end.”
Junior Brianna Amenta – the only returning starter – scored a career-high 30 points after collecting 22 in the first meeting with Port. Maeve Barrins added 10 points, two short of her season high set against Westbury on Jan. 17.
With the playoffs now firmly in sight, Oceanside wasted no time jumping on Herricks five days later and outscored the Highlanders 23-0 in the first quarter en route to a 51-31 victory. It marked the fifth time that the Sailors, who averaged just under 42 points allowed this season, blanked an opponent in a quarter.
“We had a closer than anticipated game against them the first time we played them,” Stoler said. “What ended up happening, which was amazing, was it was the best first quarter we had all season on both ends of the floor. The best part about it was we scored 23 points and we had six different girls score, which is definitely unchartered waters for us.”
Amenta led all scorers with 14 points and junior Samantha Farsky produced her second double-digit point total of the campaign with a season-high tying 11. The pair combined for all three 3-pointers in the contest.