Kings Park's Ryan Currier shoots the ball against Walter Panas during the...

Kings Park's Ryan Currier shoots the ball against Walter Panas during the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A girls basketball semifinal on Friday in Troy, N.Y. Credit: Newsday/Hans Pennink

TROY — The core of the Kings Park girls basketball team has created a new standard for the program.

Kings Park won the Suffolk Conference III title in 2021, which was the furthest the team could advance in the shortened seasons after the resumption of high school sports following the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first postseason championship in program history and Ryan Currier, now a senior, played on that team as a freshman.

This winter, Currier helped lead Kings Park to its first true county championship and Long Island crown in program history.

Currier, along with fellow seniors Melanie New and Georgiana Svolos, helped the program advance to the state final four for the first time. But Kings Park’s season ended in the state Class A semifinals with a 69-51 loss to defending state champion Walter Panas at Hudson Valley Community College on Friday afternoon.

“The fact that we even got here is something to be proud of,” Currier said. “Obviously, you can’t always get the outcome you want, but when you’re this far into the season, it’s more than we could have asked for. So just to have this last experience together and one last little hurrah, so to speak, I know we’re all really grateful for this opportunity.”

Said New, “I’m so proud of the way we all came together as a team. We clicked so well this year and I think we gave it our all, and that’s all we could do.”

New scored 18 points on six three-pointers and Gianna Zawol added 16 points. Emily Clemens scored nine points and Currier had six points, 20 rebounds and eight blocks.

“This has been the most rewarding season I’ve ever had, coaching 15 years as head coach and 20 years in the program,” Kings Park’s Tom Edmundson said. “I’ve never had a more rewarding season ever. This group of girls are just amazing.”

Junior Cadence Nicholas had 39 points for Walter Panas (24-3), which opened the game on an 18-0 run as Kings Park (19-6) struggled against the press in the opening minutes. Panas led 26-6 after the first quarter but Kings Park outscored Panas 45-43 in the final three quarters.

“It was definitely frustrating,” New said. “We struggled getting pressed all year, but I think their athleticism and how long they were and being able to get back and forth on the court really made us overthink our passes.”

“We definitely played nervous and scared that first quarter, and it showed, and they capitalized on every one of those opportunities,” Edmundson said. “That really was the difference in the game, that first quarter.”

Kings Park trailed 45-25 at halftime and began the second half on a 5-0 run, but Panas quickly regained control.

“We gave it all we had,” Currier said. “We kept chipping away, we never gave up, so I’m really proud regardless of the outcome.”

Edmundson credited the three seniors for helping to change the program’s culture.

“I’ve known them almost their whole lives, and to watch them get to this point and to see them break through and get us up here where the program has never been, it’s just special,” he said. “I’m beyond happy and humbled to coach those girls for sure.”


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