Boys and girls basketball begin season with hot start


Kyle Wong

Junior Sophie Gindi advances the ball up the court in a home game against Locust Valley. The girls lost that game by a score of 38-52.

Zach Gitlin, Staff Writer

The start of the winter sports season means one thing for many Schreiber students: basketball season. Many times last year, students filled the gym for exciting home games and cheered on the Vikings week after week. After last year’s playoff bid, the teams are ready to make another push this year. Though each team did lose important seniors at the end of last year, many players are ready to step up and contribute to each team from day one. That includes a multitude of juniors on both boys and girls teams. While the teams are off to different starts, each squad has looked to make the improvements necessary to go on a deep playoff run.

The girls Lady Vikings are one of Schreiber’s teams looking to make a run at the playoffs this season. Led by Coaches Dennis Trottier and Shane Helfner, the girls boast an impressive and deep roster that appears to be ready to turn their slow start around and push towards the playoffs. For the girls, their season did not necessarily start the way they had expected and hoped for, as they have started the 2018 campaign 0-3, taking loses from Wheatley, South Side, and Locust Valley. 

Obviously, the start was not what the team was expecting. 

“Although we haven’t had the start that we wanted, we take every game as a learning experience and opportunity to improve,” said junior Sabine Rosaya. 

Rosaya is in her third year on varsity, playing every year of high school with the upper-squad. While the girls indeed have not had the most desirable start, they have had a collection of players who have begun to step up. Seniors Ava Sann, Caitlin Kain, and Julia Ciorciari have all been important leaders on the team, as well as fellow upperclassmen juniors Sabine Rosaya, Lilly Conway, Kate Shanahan, and Ella Penson. The team also has an exciting new addition this season, eighth-grader Natalie Demeo. She looks to provide a young spark to the group, and put up seven points in the first game versus Wheatley and nine points against South Side. While the results have been losses, the team has seen all-around impressive performances from key players. 

Shanahan, a two-year varsity player, put up a season-best 11 points against Locust Valley. 

“I’ve improved since the beginning of the season and have learned a lot. I have got into better shape and worked on my shooting. It has been successful so far, and I look forward to keep on improving and hopefully contribute to a win for the team,” said Shanahan.

If the team is able to continue to put the necessary pieces in place, they will undoubtedly be able to get their first win. After that, they will begin to stack wins until the hopeful goal of a playoff run. 

“The goal for the team is to get to the playoffs. We want to have fun during the season but grow as basketball players as well,” said Shanahan. “Our team has the potential to go far into the playoffs, however, he have to figure out what works for us as a team to achieve our goal.”

This is very much true for the team, as they are filled with the potential to do great things this season. Each member of the team will look to work together as a team to make this goal into a reality. 

“Personally, I have learned to play with new teammates who I haven’t played with before,” said Rosaya. “Our goal as a team is to continue to play and improve as a team throughout the season and to make a playoff run.”

Another important tool for the girls will be their team’s chemistry on and off the court, which has already been apparent. 

“This year our team has bonded a lot off the court. Weather it be going to diner, or having pasta parties before games, we all love being around each other and it makes practices and games super fun,” said Rosaya. 

Chemistry on and off the court is vital to building the necessary pieces to do great things on the floor. 

“We went out to the Diner and are planning a secret santa. We have grown so much closer to each other on a whole new level than before. That helps us bond and play better on the court,” said Shanahan. 

If the team is able to translate their chemistry onto the court, which does take time, they will have the chance to achieve great results.

On the other side of the court, the boys team has been off to a different start. With recent wins against Massapequa and Roslyn, the team has been able to stack on two wins en route to a 2-0 start. Like the girls, the team has relied heavily on the senior presence, led by seniors Ben Spier, Harris Sonnenklar, Joe Melkonian, Marc Daly, Engincan Levent, John Bellini, and Louis Blakeman. Evidently, the team is filled with seniors, with the rest of the squad consisting of juniors. Last year, the team relied heavily on seniors as well, led by Daniel Dash and Garrett Ressa. This year, the team seeks to make a reliance on the seniors important. This starts with building team chemistry.

“We are all friends on the team and talk off the court, and because of that we are more fluent of the court. We know each other’s games since we have played with each other a lot which contributes to our play as a team,” said junior and first-year varsity player Jacob Katz. 

That has proved vital to the team as they have started extremely hot, led by Coach Sean Dooley. He has been coaching for a multitude of years now, and has figured out the program that Port needs to win. Last year, the team was able to make a playoff run, but the spark eventually died out without a county championship. This year, the goal is different. With the great start the team has had, the chances to capitalize are evident and the boys know they can truly make a run, with the right mindset and hard work.  

“Just keep playing hard with aggressive defense. Keep up the chemistry and keep working hard in practice,” said Katz.

On the court, the Vikings have performed very well thus far. The first game came against Massapequa, which has always proved to be a tough opponent for Port teams. Still, the Vikings came out strong and defeated the Chiefs by 14 points, winning 50-36. In that game, the team was led by Spier, who has looked to step into the large void that was left by Ressa last season. Spier has completely stepped up though, posting 18 points, which included a three pointer. If Spier is able to lead the team, he will set a great example of what exactly the Vikings are looking for in a star player. He has been selfless in each of the first two games, and has the fans behind him. In the team’s second game against Roslyn, Spier was just as good, putting up 16 points. As a captain, he has set an example for the team and will look to continue to build on his hot start. 

Furthermore, Sonnenklar has also played well in both games, but it is the energy he brings to the court that makes him special. He is one of the most well-liked players on the team, and brings an exciting energy to every practice and game. Reliance on the seniors like Spier and Sonnenklar is what is able to help Coach Dooley set an example of what he wants in his players, and bring Port closer to a deep playoff run. The ability to keep stacking wins will allow the Port team to reach its goals, which is a county championship or advancing even deeper into the playoffs. 

Schreiber fans also always bring excitement to the gym. On Dec. 7, the game against Roslyn took place, and the gym was filled with thunderous cheer after every big play. It is precisely this excitement from the fans that gives the boys the energy they need when times get tough. In the Roslyn game, Port did not have a great second half and was forced to resort to playing a tough game. Still, the fans were able to provide enough boost to help the team push towards a victory in a score of 55-48. The boys will look to continue to add on the wins, as they will face a challenging schedule ahead. Of course, the goal is always to win each game, one at a time.

The 2018 season is still, of course, just beginning. While the boys team is out to a better start than the girls, by no means does that tell what the final results will hold. Each team has coaches and programs set up, along with excellent team chemistry that has been built by players being together both on and off the court. If both teams are able to achieve that all-important high level of chemistry, the results will show. For the girls, they will look to continue to grow on early struggles, and will be able to transform the slow start into a special season. The boys will look to continue to push towards the playoffs, and rely on the seniors to get them there. If all players do their jobs, the possibilities are endless. While it is still early, the season is already off to a great start. Fans will be excited to see what lies ahead for these Vikings.