Sailors boast sizeable expectations


A hungry Oceanside squad is coming back for seconds after tasting success under new head coach Ed Risener – whose club bounced off its 4-15 performance in 2019-20 to finish 4-3 overall and 4-1 in league, virtually tying for second place in Nassau Conference AA1.

Four starters return for the Sailors, including All-Conference juniors Logan Lyson (forward, 12.5 points per game) and Matt Amitrano (guard, 7.7), as Oceanside fields a seasoned starting five with an average height of just over 6-foot-3.

“We look good getting off the bus,” observed Risener, whose team hosted Massapequa Dec. 15 to open its AA1 schedule. “But we’re versatile. We can be really big, and also play small, more up and down. Even our big guys are athletic, so man-to-man we can switch and compete in different styles.”

Boasting size from post to perimeter, Oceanside looks perhaps most imposing down low, with 6-3 stretch-four Liam Hannon and fellow senior forward James O’Donoghue (6-4) both credible inside-outside threats. “Liam’s possibly our most complete player,” Risener said. “He can initiate offense, also guard all five positions. James provides a lot of versatility. He can work inside and also step out and shoot the three.”

Junior point guard Jacob Raphan joins the 6-1 Amitrano in the Sailors’ starting backcourt, with guards Michael Drake (senior) and Anthony Rodriguez (junior) getting regular minutes off the bench, and 6-4 senior Dillon Mullin rotating in at forward when not tapped to start.

“We have the ability to match up against different things teams will throw at us,” Risener said. “Jacob’s a tough kid who runs the show for us. Matt’s probably our best athlete, a great shooter. Dillon’s an imposing presence in the paint.”

Added Risener: “Last season was a crash course. This year our goal is to compete for a conference championship.”