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Upset Alert: Seaford stuns Wantagh

Seaford girls basketball team huddles with coach Bob

Seaford girls basketball team huddles with coach Bob Vachris. (Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

When the playoffs began, Seaford coach Bob Vachris wouldn't - nor could he - make any assurances about his team's projections. His team just wanted to enjoy the ride, he said, and looking ahead, "all I can guarantee is that we'll be a tough out."

They're still in.

The Vikings advanced to the Nassau Class A girls basketball semifinals by stunning second-seeded Wantagh, 44-42, on Wednesday. Jessica Rini scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half and converted a three-point play with a minute left to give Seaford a four-point lead.

Rini also helped hold Wantagh's star, 6-4 center Alex Parlato, to 14 points.
"Our assistant coach Sharon [Curley] always tells me to just play, make my move and just go," Rini, earlier this season, said of her aggressiveness in the post. "That's what has been working for me."

Desire Fowlkes added 10 points and seven rebounds and Kathryn Siler had seven points for the seventh-seeded Vikings (15-4). Seaford will face No. 6 Cold Spring Harbor on Sunday, 2 p.m. at LIU Post.

Leading up to this, there was uncertainty surrounding Seaford. Vachris, demure, warned that the Vikings weren't yet at full strength as the playoffs began and their success would depend on how quickly the group could regain its cohesion and rhythm.

Rini, a 6-1 center, missed five weeks of this season with a broken foot and still was regaining her form as the regular season wrapped up. And Siler, who suffered from back spasms, missed five games before returning Feb. 10.

Those questions and more were answered with this victory over Wantagh (17-2).

"I know we have a good team that practices hard," Rini said, "so I'm pretty confident that we can get far this year."

This game wasn't Wednesday's only shocker, as the Nassau Class A bracket was shaken up.

Defending Nassau "A" champion Garden City fell to Division, 50-46, behind Laura Stuart's 15 points and 16 rebounds. The Blue Dragons will face top-seeded North Shore in a semifinal at noon Sunday at LIU Post.

As well, Cold Spring Harbor edged No. 3 Floral Park, 53-52. Caroline Kiernan had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Holly Logan (11 points) hit four free throws in the final minute to pull off the upset. The Seahawks had won three straight county "B" titles before an enrollment boost moved them to Class A this year.

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