With only one returning starter from a Covid-shortened five-game season, what South Side lacks in experience it hopes to make up for in size, quickness and depth.
“Our coaching staff took the approach that we’re starting brand new,” head coach Jerry D’Angelo said. “We had maybe 50 percent of our normal offseason and we’re trying to bring the guys up to speed as quickly as we can. I definitely like what I’ve seen so far.”
The Cyclones, who played in the Nassau Class A title game in 2019-2020, are comprised of four seniors, six juniors and three 6-foot-5-plus sophomores. D’Angelo expects Hewlett and Manhasset to be the stiffest competition among conference foes and said his team will need to “play hard and fast all the time.”
Senior guard Chris Goldstein started all five games last season and will work at the point as well off-the-ball. “He’s very quick and athletic, and a good shooter,” said D’Angelo, who mentioned junior James Bivona as another option at the point.
Senior Pat Erickson is a hard-working forward who averaged more than 15 minutes per game. “He’s extremely aggressive and also a leader,” D’Angelo said. “He’ll crash the boards.”
Junior Robert Pericolosi is a 6-3 guard who brings defensive grit and the ability to score in the half-court as well as in transition. Senior Luke Schwartzberg is a long-distance shooter and junior Jamie Murphy can make things happen in the open floor and also has long range. Junior Josh Garelle adds depth to the backcourt.
Opponents will be hard-pressed to match South Side’s size in the paint. Sophomore Ryan Kennedy is 6-5 and can shoot, handle and rebound. Classmates Matt Arnott (6-6) and Patrick Mullen (6-5) will also contribute. All three are first-year varsity players.
“We have a lot of work to do and experience to gain,” D’Angelo said. “We want to be the best version of ourselves in February.”
It’s been a long time since South Side wasn’t involved in the postseason dance and this winter shouldn’t be any different based on its talent, depth and experience.
The Cyclones, 5-1 last season, reached the Class A quarterfinals the last time Nassau conducted playoffs in 2019-2020 and have been perennial contenders for a conference title during head coach Dan Ferrick’s tenure.
Leading the way in Ferrick’s seventh season at the helm are senior guards Bridget Basile and Maggie Long. Both have All-County campaigns under their belts.
Basile is a returning captain who led the team in scoring down the stretch of its last playoff run. “She’s probably the most improved player I’ve had from their freshman to senior years,” Ferrick said of Basile, who has perimeter shooting range and a strong defensive presence. The 5-foot-10 Long, a D1 lacrosse recruit, is expected to rejoin the team in January and can make things happen anywhere on the court. “Maggie does everything well and makes everyone else around her better,” Ferrick said of Long, who scored 22 in a victory over Division.
Senior Emily Iacobellis is another proven guard with versatility. She has shooting range and the ability to drive, Ferrick noted, and also serves as a defensive stopper. She was Honorable Mention All-County last season.
Additional weapons in the backcourt are sophomores Dakota Evans and Kyla Murphy. Evans thrived off the bench as a tremendous shooter last winter on the way to earning All-Conference honors. Freshman Charlotte Rathjen is athletic, quick and tall and can play guard or forward.
As for true forwards, South Side has senior Ava Doreste, who can rebound and worked hard on developing her shooting touch during the offseason, and 6-footers Amanda Waiters, a senior, and Ava Kelly, a junior.
On paper, the Cyclones’ biggest hurdles to a conference crown are Hewlett, Manhasset and revamped Kennedy.