Paris Clark of Long Island Lutheran poses for a portrait at the...

Paris Clark of Long Island Lutheran poses for a portrait at the school on Dec. 6, 2021. Credit: James Escher

Long Island Player of the Year: Paris Clark, Long Island Lutheran, 5-9, G, Sr.

Paris Clark doesn’t talk much. She doesn’t need to. Her game speaks volumes.

The Long Island Lutheran senior averaged 24.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.7 steals per game playing against some of the top competition in the country and was named Newsday’s Player of the Year.

“There was just something about when she stepped on the floor, it was just different,” coach Christina Raiti said. “She stepped on the floor and she meant business.”

Clark, a 5-9 guard committed to play at Arizona, capped off her senior year playing in the McDonald’s All-American Game.

“Kids work their entire careers and dream of being a McDonald's All-American,” Raiti said. “It’s a finite number of athletes who ever get to say they are a McDonald’s All-American, so I think that in itself was a surreal opportunity.”

There are no true weaknesses in Clark’s game. She was Newsday’s Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2020, but the Crusaders didn’t have a season in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“She’s the type of kid where it’s not flashy but she’s just fundamentally sound,” Raiti said. “She does some beautiful things and she can take over a basketball game. We play these teams in all these different states and you want Paris Clark on your basketball team.”

Suffolk Player of the Year: Taydra Simpson, Longwood, 5-9, G, Sr.

Longwood's Taydra Simpson shoots a free throw against Northport during...

Longwood's Taydra Simpson shoots a free throw against Northport during the Suffolk Class AA girls basketball final on March 5. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

There’s nothing Taydra Simpson doesn’t and won’t do for her team on a basketball court.

Simpson was the focal point of every aspect of the game for Longwood as she led the Lions to the Suffolk Class AA championship. She averaged 21 points, 11.2 rebounds, 9.2 assists and 5.4 steals per game en route to being named Newsday’s Suffolk Player of the Year.

The Longwood senior never let injuries affect her game, many of those from the toll of playing five years of physical varsity basketball. And she had some of her best performances against top teams, including 28 points in a 65-54 victory over Northport in the Suffolk Class AA final.

Simpson graduates as Longwood’s all-time leading scorer with 1,266 points, according to coach James Castiglione. Castiglione said Longwood went 85-15 with four league titles over Simpson’s five seasons.

Pictured, top row from left: Meghan Andersen of Our Lady of Mercy, Taryn Barbot of St. Mary's, Lacey Downey of West Babylon. Bottom row: Lilah Grubman of Syosset, Lindsay Hogan of Locust Valley, Kate Koval of Long Island Lutheran.

Meghan Andersen, Our Lady of Mercy, 6-1, C, Jr.

The Fordham commit averaged 19.1 points, 12.4 rebounds with 2.3 blocks per game and shot 36% from deep this season. She has the rare combination of size and the ability to control every facet of the game.

Taryn Barbot, St. Mary’s, 5-9, G, Jr.

Barbot averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists per game for the state CHSAA Class AA champions, including posting 19 points, 18 rebounds and 6 assists in a 59-42 victory over Monsignor Scanlan in the state final. Her playmaking ability, along with aggression on the board, was a key piece to St. Mary’s winning its first state title since 1994.

Lacey Downey, West Babylon, 5-3, G, Jr.

The athletic guard averaged 19.8 points and five steals per game to lead West Babylon to its first Long Island Class A championship in program history after winning its first true county title in a 21-5 season. Downey, one of the top lacrosse recruits in her class, had 24 points in West Babylon’s 44-37 victory over East Islip in the Suffolk Class A final, including the Eagles’ first 15 points of the game.

Lilah Grubman, Syosset, 5-11, G, Sr.

Grubman controlled every part of the game for Syosset, matching her size with elite passing ability. The Yale commit averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds per game, despite playing limited minutes due to many lopsided scores for the Nassau Class AA runner-up in a 19-3 season. She can guard every position, block and alter shots and score at the rim and beyond the arc. Syosset had a 78-14 record during her time on varsity.

Lindsay Hogan, Locust Valley, 6-foot, G/F, Sr.

The New Haven commit led Long Island with 78 made three-pointers. The four-year varsity starter averaged 20.1 points per game this season along with being a strong rebounder, passer and defender. Hogan was an integral part of Locust Valley winning the most consecutive games in Long Island girls basketball history (54 games) that began with the beginning of the 2019-2020 season until the Falcons lost in the Class B Southeast Regional Final this year.

Kate Koval, Long Island Lutheran, 6-5, F/C, Soph.

Koval averaged 19.6 points, 12.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game, including 25 points and 22 rebounds in an 86-51 victory over Staten Island Academy. Koval, who has played for the Ukraine Youth National Basketball Team, shot 55% from the field in her first season for the Crusaders. She is a tough, physical player who can back her way to the basket and shoot from beyond the arc.

Pictured, from left: Dallysshya Moreno of Baldwin, Emily Plachta of Huntington, Riley Weiss of Hewlett.

Dallysshya Moreno, Baldwin, 6-foot, F, Jr.

She averaged 17.3 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks per game for the Long Island Class AA champions. Moreno was a matchup nightmare throughout the season due to her ability to play all five positions on the floor. The Division I recruit had 21 points and 20 rebounds in Baldwin’s 63-57 loss to Bishop Kearney in the state final.

Emily Plachta, Huntington, 5-10, G/F, Sr.

Plachta averaged 24.4 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks per game in a 20-2 season for Huntington, including 27 points in a 49-42 loss to Northport in the Suffolk Class AA semifinals. She scored at least 25 points in 13 games.

Emma Von Essen, Long Island Lutheran, 5-9, G, Sr.

The facilitating guard averaged 10.4 points, 5.2 assists and 2.7 steals per game, including 14 points and 12 assists in an 81-53 victory over St. Joseph by the Sea. The Hofstra commit sank 45 three-pointers while shooting 38.5% from beyond the arc. She hit five three-pointers and had six assists and six steals in a 71-37 victory over St. John’s Prep.

Riley Weiss, Hewlett, 5-10, G, Jr.

The knockdown shooter averaged 39.9 points and totaled 70 three-pointers despite facing constant double- and triple-teams this season. The five-year varsity player added five assists per game. Weiss had four 50-point games and played some of her best games against better competition to lead Hewlett to the playoffs.

Pictured: Sarah Tansey of Plainedge, James Castiglione of Longwood.

Nassau Coach of the Year: Sarah Tansey, Plainedge

She guided Plainedge to its first Nassau Class A championship since 1986.

Suffolk Coach of the Year: James Castiglione, Longwood

He guided Longwood to its second Suffolk Class AA and overall championship since 2019.

All-Long Island Second Team

Sophia Bica, Northport, 5-8, G, Sr.

She averaged 14.9 points, 6.2 assists and 5 steals per game for the Suffolk Class AA finalist Tigers (21-2). She is committed to play basketball and field hockey at Stevens Tech.

Alisa Blalock, St. Mary’s, 5-6, G, Sr.

The dynamic, playmaking guard averaged 18 points, 5 assists and 5 steals for the state CHSAA Class AA champions. She was the team leader on the defensive side as well, always providing the energy and running the break to turn defense into offense.

Casey Campo, Mt. Sinai, 5-11, F/G, Sr.

The Molloy commit averaged 23.5 points per game, and had 10 games of at least 10 rebounds for the Mustangs. Campo had 27 points and 17 rebounds in a 50-43 victory over Shoreham-Wading River.

Renelle Grannum, Baldwin, 5-7, G, Soph.

The phenomenal defender played her best in the most important games for the state finalists. Grannum averaged 15 points per game in the Long Island Class AA championship and state semifinals and final after averaging 10 points, four assists and three steals on the season.

Morgan Griffin, North Shore, 5-8, PG, Sr.

She averaged 19.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals while always elevating her game against top competition as North Shore played a challenging non-conference schedule. Griffin had 21 points against Longwood, 19 against Our Lady of Mercy and 28 against Division. She is committed to play basketball and soccer at Scranton.

Erin Harkins, Floral Park, 5-7, G, Sr.

The five-year varsity player averaged 16.2 points, 4 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3 steals per game for the Nassau Class A finalist.

Kylie Kuhn, Deer Park, 5-6, G, Sr.

Kuhn averaged 24.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.5 steals per game for Deer Park, including five 30-point games. She graduates as Deer Park’s all-time leading scorer with 1,429 points. She had 10 double-doubles and three three triple-doubles.

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

She averaged 23 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals per game for the Frogs, including scoring 26 in a 55-44 victory over Port Jefferson in the Long Island Class C championship. She had a program-record 43 points in a 63-60 victory against Division this season, along with being a lockdown defender. She'll play at Springfield.

Jessica Peluso, East Islip, 5-11, F, Sr.

She averaged 16.7 points and 13.3 rebounds in just 18 minutes per game this season for the Suffolk Class A runner-up. Peluso had 26 points and 22 rebounds and 22 points and 20 rebounds in losses to West Babylon and Longwood, who won county titles, during the regular season. She is an elite defender and a physical presence with her size and athleticism.

Kerry Svraka, Plainedge, 5-7, G, Sr.

She averaged 14.2 points, four rebounds and 2.5 steals per game for the Nassau Class A champions. Svraka knocked down 49 three-pointers on the season to lead Plainedge to its first county title since 1986.

Abby Walters, Mineola, 5-9, PG, Sr.

She averaged 20.9 points per game, including 43 points in an 82-74 double-OT win over Bethpage this season. Walters had the ability to drive the basket and shoot from deep, totaling 30 three-pointers this year.

Sophia Yearwood, Northport, 5-11, G/F, Sr.

The Molloy commit averaged 13.7 points, six rebounds and two steals per game for the Suffolk Class AA runner-up. Yearwood has the combination of size, skill and shooting, knocking down 55 three-pointers this year. She had 23 points in a 64-61 victory over Smithtown West in the quarterfinals.

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