2013-01-09 / Columnists

On the Sidelines

by Anthony Romano

The holiday season has officially come to an end, and with the New Year comes a brand new slate for high school athletes in 2013. The Massapequa Chiefs boys’ basketball team is off to a hot start, winners of six of their first eight games, putting them in second place in the Nassau AA-I Conference. At 2-1 inside their division, Massapequa’s only Conference loss came in their game against Uniondale, in which the Chiefs scored a season low 40 points. Massapequa has won two of their last three, however, including their most recent win against Valley Stream Central. Junior Dylan Balducci had 26 points in the victory, and is currently 8th in Nassau County in points per game with 21.6. Balducci credits the team’s ability to hit shots and the knack for certain players to step up in clutch situations for Massapequa’s success thus far. The league leader in total 3-pointers made with 32, Balducci attributes his success to working hard in practice. “Coach preaches hard work every day,” he says, “and if it weren’t for my teammates setting me good screens and getting me the ball, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

The girls’ team has been quite successful as well so far this season, sitting at 6-0 heading into the New Year. They’ve won all three conference games thus far, including an impressive 58-26 victory over Syosset. Junior Rachel Sieber had 12 points in the game, including four three pointers. With nine division games remaining, the Chiefs are looking forward to continuing their success into the playoffs.

Across the division, the Farmingdale Dalers boys’ team is off to a 4-2 start, winning both conference games thus far. At third place in the division, Farmingdale’s conference victories have come over Syosset and Hempstead, with the latter game ending in a score of 71-43. The Dalers’ Dalique Mingo led the way with 21 points and 8 assists and is 5th in the league, averaging 4.2 assists a game. He gives the team’s depth as its biggest strength and said, “staying level headed and trying to improve more every day,” are the things the team could improve on the most. Farmingdale has 11 games remaining on the season, including two against division-leading Freeport.

The Girls’ team in Farmingdale has yet to lose a game this season, tallying wins against two conference opponents, and seven victories in total. Perhaps their most impressive game thus far came against Hempstead, as the tandem of Nadine Hadnagy and Alexis Panariello led the scoring with 22 and 14 points, respectively, in a 61-35 win. Hadnagy is 15th in the league in scoring with 16 points a game, while Panariello is right behind her at 17th with 15 ppg. The girls still have two key games remaining against division leading Massapequa in the 2013 season.

Finally, the Plainedge girls’ team has seen success in the early part of the season as well, sitting at fourth place in the A-II conference with a 5-2 record. One of the key members of the Red Devils is Kelsey Marigliano, who is among the league leaders in scoring, and leads the team with nearly 14 points a game in just her freshman year. When asked to describe the team’s play thus far, Marigliano said, “We’ve been working hard in practice, and with me being a freshman point guard along with all the great upperclassmen, we have been coming together as a team and are fighting for a spot in playoffs.” Though they only have one conference victory thus far, Plainedge still has two more cracks at first place Division, and are certainly eyeing a playoff run.

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