Disappointed there won’t be any playoffs for Nassau girls’ basketball, Long Beach head coach Kristin Ciccone said the Marines still have plenty to play for in this condensed season.
“I felt all along we had a good chance of playing, but I thought the spring was a possibility,” Ciccone said. “Either way, we’re excited. We have very high expectations. If we can win the conference and put a banner on the wall, that would really make the season memorable.”
The starting five features four seniors and one sophomore, led by senior forward/guard Lainie Kassap. She comes off an All-County campaign and serves as a leader on and off the court, Ciccone noted. Kassap can hit outside shots as well as be effective driving to the basket.
Senior guard Gia Simbari was Honorable Mention All-County and enters her fourth season at the varsity level. She’s strong on the offensive end and can score in many different ways. Her backcourt mate, senior Jasmine Soriano, runs the show from the point and leads the pressure defense. Ciccone said she wants Soriano to be more aggressive on offense during the eight-game crunch.
Senior forward Jordyn Prince brings good shooting range and the ability to rebound, while sophomore forward Keira Bauer is a varsity returnee. “We have great chemistry,” Ciccone said. “It’s a close-knit group.”
The Marines opened with a victory over Valley Stream Central on Feb. 10 and then struggled offensively last Friday in the home opener and fell short against visiting Mepham, 34-36. Sophomore Meg Brolley-Monohan led Long Beach with seven points in the setback.
Long Beach’s boys’ team had a highly successful 2019-2020 season but graduated the majority of its roster. Head coach Scott Martin said it took a lot of work from the powers that be to get the season up and running.
“We’re jamming everything into a month, but I’m happy the kids are getting a chance to play,” Martin said. “They’ve been practicing really hard. We’ll make the best of it and put safety first of course.”
Senior Brett Shields saw some varsity minutes a year ago and that makes him the most experienced on the roster. He’s a guard with a sweet shooting touch, Martin said, and he’ll be counted on to provide plenty of offense. Taking over the point is freshman Mike Main, who has a bright future and plays on the AAU circuit. Main played for the L.B. Middle School team last season.
Seniors Yameek Primer, Marvin Paz and Mike Marino will also be asked to log big minutes. Primer, considered to be one of the top athletes in the school according to Martin, didn’t play basketball last season. He’s aggressive with the ball and can providing scoring and rebounding.