Meagan Doherty – fresh off scoring her 1,000th career point – was front and center to witness Nicole Kaczmarski’s jersey retirement ceremony during halftime of Sachem East’s win over Sachem North, so it begged the question: Who was better, Kaz or Kristen?
Kaczmarski was arguably Long Island’s greatest girls basketball player – with a flair that drew awe and production (2,583 career points) that made the awards and accolades heap. But, certainly, Kristen Doherty, Meagan’s sister, is in the discussion of the greats. Her 2,277 points (seventh all-time), state Class AA title and national acclaim put her on that short list.
“I’m really biased,” Meagan said, supporting her sister. “But from what I’ve heard from coach [Matt] Brisson, Kaz was way beyond her years. She was probably more flashy and better than Kristen at that time. But there’s no question they were both great players.”
Doherty, a senior at Sachem East, remembers watching Kaczmarski in the late 90s and understands the impact she had on Long Island basketball.
“My father and I were talking about it the other day,” she said. “I was young, probably 5 or 6, but I remember the gym and the atmosphere of the old Sachem games.
“My dad showed us videos of her and we kind of grew up with it. I always heard her name. Growing up around here and being a fan of Sachem basketball, you knew about her and Megan Caskin and Toni Horvath, and all the phenomenal D-I girls that came out of Sachem.”
Kaczmarski didn’t so much influence Kristen’s game, Meagan said, but her success made Kristen aspire to reach that level. “I think she used Kaz to push herself from when we were really little,” Meagan said of Kristen, who now plays at Boston College. “She wanted to be that kind of national player and compete with the best. It made her more driven.”