The South Side girls basketball team walks into the gym each game not knowing who will lead the team in scoring.
That might worry some teams. Not the Cyclones, even though they entered play Friday night without anyone on the roster averaging 10 points per game.
Gianna Mauro and Jenna Lopez stepped up, producing 14 points and 10 rebounds each, to lead South Side to a 48-29 Nassau A-I win over visiting Jericho on its senior night.
Mauro entered as the team’s leading scorer at 9.8 points per game but now sits at 10.1. Lopez is second on the team with 9.1 points per contest.
“I think it shows how we’re all team players, how we’re always looking for the open girl,” said Lopez, who was called up to varsity at the end of her freshman season. “We’re not looking to always take the shot or layup. We’re not looking to get our own score up; we’re looking to get the team’s score up.”
Lopez had 10 points by halftime and Mauro had eight in the second half. They shouldered the load, but Ailis DeTommaso, Kendall Kelly and Olivia Watterson each had four points.
Nine players scored against Jericho (5-5), and South Side coach Dan Ferrick showcased his deep bench by rotating frequently and giving his role players a chance to play.
“It’s a very easy team to coach because the girls on the bench, we normally go nine or 10 deep every game,” he said.
Everyone off the bench provided energy, allowing South Side (8-2) to constantly pressure Jericho from baseline to baseline. The Jayhawks found quality looks but were unable to capitalize on many.
Although Lucy Peters (eight points), Mia Maola (five) and Rebecca Silverman (five) still scored, the Jayhawks’ offense struggled without freshman Jade Stoler. The team’s leading scorer at 14.6 points per game, Stoler broke her wrist against New Hyde Park three days earlier and will miss the rest of the season, according to coach Andrew Schneider.
In a brief pregame ceremony, the Cyclones honored their six seniors: DeTommaso, Lopez, Mauro, Watterson, Kelly and her sister, Livia. Ferrick also recognized team manager Paige Lonergan, who was on the varsity last season but chose to play a different role as a senior.
Mauro said everyone contributed in her final home game on the varsity.
“We put so much hard work and dedication into the team, and it really has been paying off,” she said. “Winning on senior night’s just so rewarding.”