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Lynbrook eyes playoff spot

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A battle-tested Lynbrook girls’ basketball team is fighting for a playoff berth while tackling one of the toughest league schedules on Long Island.

The Lady Owls entered the week at 4-4 in Conference A-V, which features Class A championship contenders Floral Park, Wantagh, Plainedge and Bethpage. Lynbrook head coach Stephen LoCicero sees potential for his team to make a deep postseason run if the Lady Owls can quality for the playoffs with a .500 record or better record.

“The A4 conference is the toughest conference in the county,” LoCicero said. “We are having a great year, we are just in a very tough conference.”

Lynbrook kicked off the second half of its league schedule on Saturday following a week-long break for midterm exams against unbeaten Floral Park.  After a slow start where the Lady Owls fell behind 21-6 after one quarter, Lynbrook rebounded to win the final three periods in a 57-40 loss.

The first half of conference play ended on a high note when Lynbrook defeated Bethpage 53-39 after outscoring the Eagles 17-4 in the fourth quarter. Junior Leanna Sullivan led the Lady Owls with 14 points with many clutch baskets in the fourth quarter while senior Sara Bahri added 13.

LoCicero boasts a balanced team that features up to 11 players on the court each game with weapons on the on the perimeter and paint. Sophomore Kyla Nembach runs the offense at point guard with junior Camilla Bahri a sharp shooter from the outside. Junior Kayla Schwizer is a force on the inside averaging around five blocks a game with senior Kate Foley, Sara Bahri and Sullivan hauling down key rebounds in the paint. J

Junior Maggie Bodian and freshman Katelynn O’Brien add to Lynbrook’s deep depth at the guard position. O’Brien is off to a strong start in her first varsity season averaging seven points per game.

“They are the best athletes in the school and I try to get into the game as much as possible,” LoCicero said. “They are all doing great things individually and are playing well together.”

After a Jan. 28 game at Lawrence, Lynbrook hosts Valley Stream North on Thursday before a tough road game on Monday at second place Wantagh, who defeated the Owls 68-57 on Jan. 8. Lynbrook then closes the regular season at home on Feb. 5 against North Shore, on the road at Plainedge on Feb. 7 before hosting Bethpage on Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m.

LoCicero said the team’s close chemistry on and off the court has positioned them to play meaningful games down the stretch. He is hoping that their dedication to each other gets rewarded with a chance to compete for a championship in a wide-open Class A.

“The girls really enjoy being around each other,” he said. “I think we can make a run and we just have to get in the playoffs.”