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Athlete of the Week is Baldwin’s Aziah Hudson

Baldwin's Aziah Hudson on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016.

Baldwin's Aziah Hudson on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Credit: James Escher

One of Long Island’s most dynamic playmakers now stands alone at the top of the Baldwin girls basketball all-time scoring list.

Aziah Hudson cut left, grabbed a pass from Kaia Harrison and went hard to the basket with 6:27 left in the first quarter of Tuesday’s 78-21 win over Westbury, converting a layup and breaking the program’s scoring mark.

The junior scored 14 points in the game, giving her 1,151 and breaking the previous record of 1,137 set by current East Rockaway girls basketball coach Karin Leary (formerly Byrnes) from 1986-1989. Hudson is Newsday’s Athlete of the Week for her efforts.

“I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Aziah since third grade,” coach Tom Catapano said. “One thing that she’s always been natural at is putting the ball in the basket, especially in transition. She’s a tremendous finisher.”

Long strides and quick hands make her an asset in transition. But the conviction with which she slashes to the basket makes her incredibly difficult to contain. Even on nights when her jumper isn’t falling — which is something she said she’s trying to improve — Hudson still gets points.

“I’m working on shooting the ball,” she said. “I feel like it’s showing on the court, but I’m still working at it.”

Catapano has seen strides this season. “That’s something she’s spent a lot of time in the offseason developing,” he said. “She’s now knocking down the long ball much more consistently.”

If Hudson’s jumper can become a reliable weapon, Baldwin will become even more difficult of a draw. She is averaging 17.7 points per game after scoring nine points against East Meadow Wednesday and has led the Bruins to the top of Newsday’s weekly girls basketball rankings.

Already one of the most athletic and talented teams on Long Island, Baldwin’s case for No. 1 improved significantly on Dec. 28 after beating four-time defending Class AA champion Ossining, which hadn’t lost to a state public school since March 2012.

“I feel like we’ve been underrated for a while,” said Hudson, who had 21 points in the game. “Beating them made us better and stronger.”

The Bruins boast significant talent in the backcourt with Hudson, Harrison and Jenna Annecchiarico, but they’ll go as far as Hudson takes them. Catapano said she is growing into a leadership role and has embraced the challenge of leading one of Nassau’s top programs.

With the scoring record now behind her, Hudson said she’s now ready to focus on the task at hand — winning a county title and advancing to the state tournament.

She still has more than a full season left to play, and the elusive 2,000-point mark is certainly a possibility. But Hudson isn’t thinking about that, either.

All she wants to do is slash her way to a title.

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