South Side works through injuries

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One typically would deem a 7-4 overall record and 3-1 Conference A3 record as pretty successful, and that is due to the ability to make adjustments day by day by South Side girls’ basketball head coach Dan Ferrick.

The injury bug has bitten the Lady Cyclones all season long, with girls bouncing in and out of the lineup. Most days, Ferrick is having trouble running a practice with 10 bodies for an ideal 5-on-5 setting.

“There have been multiple girls that have missed time, and girls that started the season healthy but are missing time now,” Ferrick said. “We have only practiced with 10 or more girls twice all season long.”

One such player that has been out for the entirety of the season thus far is 6-foot-1 center Sydney Rathjen. The imposing inside force has been absent from team activity since getting injured in the second practice. Rathjen was an All-Conference player and All-County honorable mention a season ago. She is expected to be medically cleared by mid-to-late January.

Demi Karanasos, one of the team’s other natural frontcourt players, was recently injured and is expected to miss four to five weeks. Before going down, she averaged roughly 8 points per game.

The lack of options has definitely put a damper on practicing all of Ferrick’s philosophies, he said. Even in games, he has not been able to unleash his full arsenal of offensive attacks and wide array of defensive strategies. On multiple occasions, Ferrick has only been able to suit up nine. In a 57-49 win over Valley Stream Central, the Lady Cyclones dressed eight.

In that victory over Valley Stream Central, all eight players saw time on the court and scored. Katie McMahon led the Lady Cyclones in scoring with 16. She averages just under 11 points per game. Karanasos finished with 14 and Emily Belling collected 11 points. Theresa Kenny finished with 7, Bridget Basile with 4, Dana Allen and Casey Shargel added 2 each and Arianna McLean added a free throw while nearly collecting double digit rebounds.

McLean has had to step up and take a bigger role with the amount of injuries South Side has piled up. In fact, most of the girls have had to step up.

“One benefit of having all of these injuries is that players 10 and 11 on the bench who usually wouldn’t see time have been playing pretty significant roles,” Ferrick said. “I think that will bode well for us down the line.”

Ferrick’s squad is indeed good enough to finish strongly and even win Conference A3, especially with the return of a full lineup down the line. “Our goal now is to win the conference,” Ferrick said.

South Side’s only blemish through four A3 games was a 61-42 setback at Division on Jan. 10. The Lady Cyclones (7-4 overall) had a six-game winning streak from Dec. 10-26, including wins over Class AA schools Oceanside and Freeport.