Defense is the name of the game for the Floral Park girls basketball team, and three-year varsity starter Jaeda Delsoin has made sure it's the top priority.
“It doesn’t matter how many points I score or how many shots I take, it’s about how we are going to force turnovers and rebound the ball in order to create those scoring opportunities,” Delsoin said.
The senior point guard had 17 points and seven steals to propel host Floral Park past Lynbrook, 44-32, in the Nassau Conference A-IV opener for both teams Monday. Sophomore Erin Harkins added 11 points and six steals, and freshman Maya Bateau had seven points, seven rebounds and five blocks.
“Jaeda’s jump from sophomore to junior and now to this year has been tremendous,” Floral Park coach Michael Spina said. “She has the ability to take over the game when I need her to and is one of our best defenders.”
After outscoring the Owls 13-9 in the first quarter, the Knights ramped up the pressure in the second quarter and held Lynbrook to just five points.
The Knights switched from a half-court zone trap, to a full-court man-to-man and a 2-2-1 zone in the final two minutes. The change led to a handful of turnovers and helped Floral Park close the first half on a 6-0 run for a 25-14 halftime lead.
“Coach was trying to get us to step up our intensity because he saw we were losing our edge,” Delsoin said. “When Spina yells, you just get going.”
Floral Park made sure it was well prepared for Monday’s contest and played three non-league games to begin the season, all victories.
“It prepped [us] for dealing with the transition of playing defense one way and then the next time down the court, changing it over to another,” Spina said. “You don’t get that experience in scrimmages or practice.”
“We are at our best when we are all locked in on the defensive end,” Harkins said. "It’s our strong suit and the best quality of our team.”
The Knights might only have three seniors on their roster, but the plethora of weapons has Spina intrigued for what's to come.
“This is one of the deeper teams I have had in terms of scoring,” Spina said. “I don’t know how good we are yet, but we are going to find out as the season moves along. Every game in is going to be a battle and a struggle. The team that handles adversity the best on a given day is going to win.”