The last time Deer Park made the semifinals in 2002, Mike Gennaro couldn’t make the game. The Deer Park coach’s wife went into labor one hour before the game with his first daughter, Madison, and he didn’t make the game in a loss to East Islip.
Gennaro plans to be on the sidelines Monday when No. 4 Deer Park goes back to the semifinals following a 45-37 win over No. 4 Whitman in a Suffolk quarterfinal. Deer Park (18-2) will play No. 8 Copiague in the semifinals Monday 7:30 p.m. at Farmingdale State.
None of the players on the roster had played in a playoff game until Monday. Deer Park missed the playoffs by a basket two years ago and went 7-11 last season. The Falcons had two season-ending injuries early in the season that were a factor. Kelsey Dillon broke her hand in the first league game of the season and Jasmine Gonzalez tore her ACL and missed the entire season.
Deer Park played well in the summer league and won the championship in the fall league.
“That’s when I thought maybe we have something,” Gennaro said. “We started jelling in the summer and fall. Everybody bought in to what their role would be. They were very determined to get a banner.”
The Falcons won their first league championship since 1978.
Andrea Desvignes, a junior point guard, led the offense with 19 points, five rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Felicia LaSorsa scored 12 points.
Deer Park continued to play stifling defense holding an opponent to less than 39 points for the 13th consecutive game.
“We got back defensively,” Desvignes said. “Every time they rebounded, we got back quickly.”
Added LaSorsa” “We’ve been working all year round. It’s paying off.”