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Fun is the theme for South Side basketball

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A season after winning 19 games and playing for the Nassau County Class A boys’ basketball championship, the theme for South Side in this condensed season is simple — have as much fun as possible.

“We want the seniors to come away with some good memories and for everyone to have fun because that’s what it’s all about,” Cyclones interim head coach Kevin Kennedy said. “It was mad rush to pull everything together. We’re cramming four months of work into three-and-a-half weeks.”

Kennedy, a 1987 SSHS graduate and former player, has worked under head coach Jerry D’Angelo for 13 seasons. He’s running the varsity team this season as D’Angelo, who battled Covid-19 last spring, continues to recover while working from home.

“Jerry has been a tremendous support,” Kennedy said. “These are unchartered waters for everyone and we’re just taking it one day at a time. The kids are playing hard and there’s no lack of effort or intensity.”

Nassau’s schedule consists of only eight games with no playoffs. South Side opened Feb. 12 with a loss to Manhasset and fell to Roslyn less than 18 hours later. “The kids did as well as they could given the circumstances,” Kennedy said. “We usually don’t even scrimmage until we have eight practices under our belts.”

Leading the way for the Cyclones are senior captains Owen Mullen and Thomas Kelly. Mullen, a forward, was one of the first contributors off the bench last winter and averaged 7 points per game. He’s an inside/outside threat with a quick first step to the basket, Kennedy said. Mullen totaled 32 points against Manhasset and Roslyn. “He’s our top returning scorer and aggressive with the ball,” Kennedy said.

Kelly serves as the team’s floor general. As the starting point guard, he settles the offense in the halfcourt and brings defensive energy. Senior shooting guard John Quinn is a real perimeter threat. Junior Chris Goldstein, up from JV, slashes well to the basket and also has good range, while senior Jack Schwartzberg gets the dirty work done in the paint.

South Side’s girls’ basketball team defeated Roslyn in the opener behind 16 points from junior guard Bridget Basile, one of its three captains.

“Every team is in the same boat,” head coach Dan Ferrick said. “You can’t put in all the sets you normally run and all the other things like seven different in-bounds plays. We’re just doing the best we can with the time we have and trying to add some things as we go along.”

Basile, a tireless worker always looking to improve her skills, Ferrick said, enjoyed a tremendous finish last season and was named Honorable Mention All-County. Senior captain Dana Allen, an All-Conference point guard, has played every game in each of the past two campaigns. Senior captain Sydney Rathjen is a fourth-year varsity performer who is playing at a high level, Ferrick noted, after missing most of last winter with an ankle injury.