Newsday's All-Long Island girls basketball team 2024. Top row, from left:...

Newsday's All-Long Island girls basketball team 2024. Top row, from left: Rose Azmoudeh of Half Hollow Hills East, Shy Hawkins of Floyd, Ryan Currier of Kings Park and Allison Twible of East Meadow. Bottom row, from left: Coach Peter M. Olenik of East Meadow, Iris Hoffman of Whitman, Jasmine McKay of North Babylon, Caitlin Leary of Carle Place and coach Tom Edmundson of Kings Park. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Newsday Player of the Year: Kate Koval, Long Island Lutheran, 6-5, F/C, Sr.

When you’re separated by nearly 5,000 miles, film is all a coach can really go off of. When Long Island Lutheran girls basketball coach Christina Raiti first saw film of Koval, Raiti knew there was something special there. But even she couldn’t have quite projected the force Koval turned into.

“Obviously, film does speak volumes and we knew she had a chance to be pretty good,” Raiti said. “But I think her personality and her competitiveness mixed with what her skillset has become is more than we could have ever imagined.”

Koval, who enrolled at LuHi her sophomore year, quickly became one of the most dominant players in the nation. Koval, a 6-5 forward/center committed to play at Notre Dame, averaged 15.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game as one of the most dominant forces on every court she stepped on to be named Newsday’s girls basketball Player of the Year for the second straight season.

Kate Koval of Long Island Lutheran. Credit: James Escher

Koval, who is from Ukraine, has crafted her game to become more than just a big, imposing presence under the basket. She runs the floor, creates offense with her passing and can shoot to provide spacing in the offense against arguably the toughest schedule in the country.

“We’ve asked her to do certain things that we care about offensively and defensively, obviously, but she’s also taught us some and we’ve adapted as well,” Raiti said. “With her size, people assume you have to play slow, but we’ve really pushed our boundaries and she does a tremendous job of being able to play fast. She’s very versatile.”

Koval was one of three LuHi players selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game. Koval helped the Crusaders to a 21-1 record with LuHi entering the Chipotle Nationals April 5 and April 6.

When reflecting back to first seeing Koval’s film, Raiti knew star potential was there. Nothing was guaranteed, but Koval’s determination and drive made her one of the best prep players in the country. Raiti expects Koval to become an immediate impact player at Notre Dame and to add to her game to play beyond college.

“We could have imagined [this] but you also don’t know what a kid’s mindset is and how mentally tough they are and how driven they are by film,” Raiti said. “That’s something you can’t necessarily see so I think that’s gotten her the furthest besides from her skillset.”

Suffolk Player of the Year: Iris Hoffman, Whitman, 5-5, G, Sr.

Iris Hoffman of Whitman. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Hoffman plays at her own pace with her own style. Within minutes of the opening tip, Hoffman’s face turns bright red due to all the effort she’s putting on the hardwood. She is the team’s unquestioned leader and pacesetter, whether it’s showcasing her arm in full-court passes or grabbing a rebound and running the fast break to set up herself or a teammate.

Hoffman, a five-year varsity player, averaged 15.5 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Long Island Class AAA champions this season to be named Newsday’s Suffolk Player of the Year. She had the first triple-double in program history, according to coach Dan Trebour, with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals in a win over Longwood this season. Hoffman led Whitman to a 21-4 season and its first trip to the state semifinals in program history before falling to Our Lady of Lourdes, the eventual state champions. 

Hoffman led Long Island with 78 made three-pointers with the ability to knock down shots well beyond the 19-foot, 9-inch arch. But outside of her shot, Hoffman’s passing ability immediately jumps out to anyone watching her in action. She can make any pass on the floor and is everything coach Trebour could ask for in a point guard. Especially because she’s not chasing the accolades for herself.

“She’s such a role model to even the kids in the youth program and the younger kids on the team because she’s very humble,” he said. “And it’s exactly what you would want from a high school teammate.”

Rose Azmoudeh, Half Hollow Hills East, 5-10, G, Sr.

She averaged 26.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.1 steals per game with 65 made three-pointers, leading Hills East in each category. Azmoudeh is a dynamic scorer, having three games with at least 40 points, including a 50-point performance, and set a school record for points in a season with 579. She also ranks third in program history with 1,321 points, according to coach Adam Cirnigliaro.

Ryan Currier, Kings Park, 6-2, C, Sr.

Currier was one of the most imposing forces in the paint this season, averaging 15.2 rebounds and seven blocks per game for the Long Island Class A champions. Currier added 10.9 points per game and totaled 176 blocks. She had 22 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks in a win over Bayport-Blue Point in the Suffolk Class A final.

Shy Hawkins, Floyd, 6-2, G/F, Jr.

She averaged 23.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.2 blocks and 2.7 steals per game for Floyd. She is one of the most athletic basketball players on Long Island with her size and skill earning her a scholarship to play at Syracuse. Hawkins shot 35% from beyond the arc. She played a key role in Floyd capturing the Suffolk League I title and had 34 points and 14 rebounds against North Babylon in the Suffolk Class AAA quarterfinals.

Kayleigh Heckel, Long Island Lutheran, 5-9, G, Sr.

Kayleigh Heckel of Long Island Lutheran.

Kayleigh Heckel of Long Island Lutheran. Credit: James Escher

She was the Crusaders’ floor general this year as the primary facilitator but can also score with the best players in the country. Heckel, committed to play at USC, averaged 16.6 points, 8.3 assists and 3.1 steals per game with the ability to consistently set up her teammates in perfect positions against elite defenses. Heckel was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game.

Caitlin Leary, Carle Place, 5-8, G, Sr.

She led Nassau in scoring, averaging 22.7 points per game this season. Leary added six rebounds, five assists and three steals per game. Leary, who became Carle Place’s all-time leading scorer at 1,357 points, led Carle Place to the Long Island Class B championship. The University of Mercy commit had 25 points in a win over Mattituck to advance to the Class B Southeast Regional Final and scored at least 30 points in four games this season.

Jasmine McKay, North Babylon, 5-6, G, Jr.

She led Long Island in scoring at 28.5 points per game and is one of the best shooters on Long Island, knocking down 77 three-pointers this season. McKay added 5.3 steals per game as a strong defensive threat and led North Babylon to its first postseason victory in five years, according to coach Matt Giannelli. She had three games with at least 40 points this season.

Syla Swords, Long Island Lutheran, 6-0, G, Sr.

Syla Swords of Long Island Lutheran.

Syla Swords of Long Island Lutheran. Credit: James Escher

Swords averaged 17.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game with the ability to do a little bit of everything on the floor. She is one of the best three-point shooters in New York but can also get to the basket and create with ease, even against the best competition in the country. Swords, who played in the McDonald’s All-American Game, is committed to play at the University of Michigan.

Allison Twible, East Meadow, 5-9, G, Jr.

She averaged 17.4 points, six assists and five rebounds to lead East Meadow to the Long Island Class AA championship in a 20-6 season. Twible led the Jets with 20 points in a victory over Manhasset in the Nassau Class AA final.

Nassau Coach of the Year: Peter M. Olenik, East Meadow

He guided the Jets to their first county and Long Island championship in program history.

Suffolk Coach of the Year: Tom Edmundson, Kings Park

He guided Kings Park to its first county and Long Island championship in program history.


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