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West Hempstead endures growing pains


One of the more positive aspects of having a young team in high school athletics is the potential for long-term success. But, with youth, of course, there’s always the possibility of finding that the stage can be a bit too big at times.

The West Hempstead girls have run hot and cold on the basketball court in the early going of the 2019-2020 season, and the team’s relative inexperience at the varsity level has been far too apparent.

In last Friday’s 75-54 loss to undefeated Locust Valley, the Rams turned the ball over early and often enabling the Falcons to run out to a 12-0 lead before a minute had elapsed. Senior Korrina Plair scored a team-high 21 points, but the game was over for West Hempstead early. The Rams fell to 5-4 overall (1-2 in Nassau A-V.)

“We’re just not as tough as we need to be,” West Hempstead head coach Chris Van Kovics said. “Locust Valley came out and pressed us and we didn’t handle it. When you don’t take care of the ball against a team like that, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”

As expected, senior guard Jenna Eivazi has been the team’s most consistent player. Eivazi, who scored 15 points in back-to-back games against Carey and Clarke, and dropped a season-high 20 in a 62-25 win against Malverne, is averaging 13 points per night. She has averaged double figures each season since her freshman year.

Plair, who leads the team in scoring with 14 points per game, has been disruptive on defense and pulls down her share of rebounds, but Van Kovics believes she could easily be scoring 20 or more per contest.

Like Plair, sophomore Sanaia Estime has been tough on the glass, but hasn’t finished around the hoop as well as she can. With more consistency with put backs and from the free throw line, Estime could be a double-double machine.

Amanda Healy has been a bright spot in her first season running the point for the Rams. Fellow sophomore Catherine Andree has been the team’s toughest defender. Andree has shown the ability to get open and bury deep threes.

“We’ve done a decent job with the press, and can turn people over,” Van Kovics said. “Korrina and Catherine have used their athleticism to force turnovers, and we can score in transition. But, we’re turning the ball over way too much.”

The arrival of Healy at the point has opened things up for sophomore Isabel Tavarez and Eivazi on the wings. Tavarez, who scored a dozen in a 57-42 rout of Mineola, is averaging just under 10 points per game.

“Bottom line, we have to be more patient and make better decisions,” Van Kovics said. “We’re holding our own against opponents with similar ability, but we have to be tougher, mentally and physically, against the stronger teams in the conference.”

West Hempstead is back in action this Saturday afternoon when it travels to Valley Stream South for a noon tip-off with the Lady Falcons.