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Baldwin still a force in Nassau

Uniondale #34 Sakara Hester-Torres, right, attempts to get

Uniondale #34 Sakara Hester-Torres, right, attempts to get a shot over Baldwin #24 Mariah Butler and #50 Chelsea May in the third quarter. (Feb. 28, 2012) (Credit: James Escher)

With four starters gone, some thought this was the season Baldwin could relinquish its crown as the best team in Nassau Class AA. That may be premature.

Baldwin showed in its biggest test of the season it won’t go away easily. The Bruins defeated North Babylon, a team with two Division I prospects, 52-46 on Dec. 28.

“We’re young and inexperienced,” fourth-year coach Tom Catapano said. “They had a great off-season and buy into the program. They take pride in keeping the tradition going.”

Catapano has helped build that tradition. He has guided the team to three consecutive Nassau Class AA titles, a state semifinal appearance and done it without a Division I player.

Junior Mariah Butler has helped lead the way for Baldwin (5-1, 4-0 Nassau Conference II) and is one of the more experienced players. Ashley McAdams is one of two seniors and Catapano thought she might never playing again after tearing her left ACL as a freshman and her right ACL as a sophomore.

Sophomore guard Jade Aponte is the Bruins’ best shooter and sophomore Tiara Place and junior Tyra Harrison have also played key roles.

Baldwin is known for its aggressive defense and it’s no different this season.

“They have been responding very well,” Catapano said. “I am happy with their progress.”

Tags: girls basketball , Baldwin , Mariah Butler , Ashley McAdams , Jade Aponte , Tiara Place , Tyra Harrison

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