The Seaford boys’ basketball team has battled through the adversity of a key early season injury to stay in postseason contention heading toward the home stretch.
The Vikings (8-4), who lost starting junior center Devin O’Donnell in the third game to a wrist injury, have won five of seven and are in the mix for one of two available playoff spots in Conference B-II. A commanding 64-41 home win against East Rockaway Friday moved Seaford to 4-3 in league play and heading into a one-week break for midterms.
“My team is playing very well and there are a lot of good teams we are facing,” said 41st-year Seaford head coach Ralph Rossetti. “If we didn’t lose Devin we would have a couple more wins.”
While replacing O’Donnell’s inside scoring has been a challenge, senior Nick Apollo has picked up some key rebounds this season after moving from forward to the center spot.
Rossetti said he hopes to have O’Donnell back for the end of the regular season and possible playoffs if Seaford can place in the top to of its competitive league that also features postseason contenders Malverne and West Hempstead. In his last game— a 60-32 victory at East Rockaway on Dec. 15— the 6-3 O’Donnell posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
In the season’s second meeting against East Rockaway at home last Friday, the Vikings were led by 21 points from Frank Pyrt, 20 by Andrew Tudda and Luke Donovan, who tallied 11. Seaford jumped out to a 38-17 lead at halftime after outsourcing the Rocks 22-6 in the second quarter.
Friday’s East Rockaway win followed a hard-fought 58-55 loss to Carle Place three days earlier in which Tudda scored 19 points and Pyrt registered 16 points.
The Vikings made history in their previous game, a 57-46 home triumph against Oyster Bay on Jan. 12 that marked the program’s first win against the Baymen in Rossetti’s 41 years as Seaford head coach. The Vikings were aided by 21 points from Tudda and 18 by TJ Harrington.
The season was also marked by a historic offensive showing in a 101-100 double overtime win at Plainedge on Jan. 3 in which Harrington drained a three=pointer at the buzzer. The dramatic non-league win, in which Tudda tallied 35 points, marked the most ever for Rossetti’s in his more than four decades on the Seaford sidelines.
“We had never scored that many points before in my years of coaching,” said Rossetti, who has won 391 games including a 1998 county title during his long run at Seaford. “It was a great game.”
Seaford is next in action for a crucial league game at West Hempstead Saturday for a noon tipoff that could decide whether the Vikings earn a spot in the upcoming Class B playoffs. The Vikings then face another critical test at home on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. versus Malverne, another team competing with Seaford for the postseason.