Once the calendar flipped to 2021 and there was no clearance from New York State regarding high-risk high school sports, Jackie Sailer didn’t think she’d be playing basketball as a senior at Oceanside.
“I really didn’t think we’d have a season but our whole team is excited to be playing,” Sailer said after she scored 18 points and ripped down 15 rebounds to lead Oceanside to a 46-34 home victory over East Meadow on Feb. 16. “We’ve been working hard ever since we heard it was going to happen,” she added. “Even though it’s only eight games, it’s something to be happy about.”
The win was the second in as many days for the Sailors (2-2), who led by four at halftime and used a 12-point run in the third quarter to pull away after East Meadow made it a one-possession game at 26-23. Senior Gabby Modzelewski had 9 points and junior Natalie Medugno chipped in 7 points and a dozen rebounds. Senior Rhoda Williams led the Jets with 12 points.
“When Jackie is on like she was today, she’s can be the focal point of our offense,” Sailors head coach Jared Stoler said. “Gabby is always around the ball and did a nice job contributing points. And Brianna [Amenta], our freshman point guard, has great vision and sets people up and she’s quick.”
Amenta poured in 19 points to lead a victory over Hempstead on Feb. 15. “She was with the varsity last year as an eighth-grader,” Stoler said. “You can see she’s more comfortable and confident now. She might have had a few jitters in the opener against Freeport, but she’s proving she belongs. She’s doing exactly what we’re looking for her to do.”
Amenta’s first of two baskets against East Meadow came during the decisive third-quarter run that allowed Oceanside to build a 38-23 lead. She sandwiched a three-pointer between buckets by Modzelewski and Senior Shannon DiDominica. Sailer had four points during the run.
“We’ve been playing strong team defense,” Stoler said. “We have a good amount of depth and if we had a full season some of these girls would be award-winners.”
Senior Jenna Morgan hit an important trey late in the second quarter for a 21-14 lead after the Jets scored 8 of 10 to close a double-digit gap to four. Eighth-grader Allie Twible provided a spark for East Meadow with 5 points in the quarter and 8 for the game.
“We just have to be a little more consistent,” Stoler added. “Today was our most complete game so far. We have four games left and I’m towing the line of getting the seniors their last hurrah with one eye on developing the others for next season.”