The handful of teams gunning for a clear shot at the county title in girls basketball this year should be ready for a moving target.
With the Class AA and A winners suffering possible debilitating losses because of graduation, there's little threat of it being the same old story come this postseason. Syosset, last year's Class AA winner, has been shuffled down to Conference II while Floral Park has suffered an even greater fall from grace - having been sent to ABC-III.
Since ability-based grouping means that pre-seeded top teams are already in the playoffs, the unpredictable regular season will no doubt serve as telling postseason prelude.
CLASS AAThere's significant buzz surrounding Massapequa coming into this year - a big feat considering the Chiefs have no real star to helm the team. Instead, 'Pequa boasts excellent depth and strong guard play. They're 10-deep and have seven seniors - including three starting guards to go with their ninth-grade point guard. The fifth spot will rotate, depending on need and the opponent, said coach Shari Roessler. The Chiefs atypical makeup makes for a strong passing and running team.
It goes to reason then that Uniondale, a potentially high-scoring team with a stable, full-court defense will be something of a foil for Massapequa. The Knights return four starters, two of which were all-county last year, and have at least three players that can score 20 points on any given night.
Uniondale's greatest attribute is its speed and senior point guard Ifeanyi Ofili. Also look for the emergence of Myajha Elston; the small forward/shooting guard has grown three inches over the summer and, at around 6 feet, will look to rule the boards.
Baldwin will capitalize on its speed and athleticism to manhandle teams into submission. What the Bruins lack in shooting, they make up for with their ability to suffocate on the inside. If allowed control of the game, there's little that can stop them.
Back from an undefeated regular season in Conference II, Mepham will look to make its mark in AA-I. The team will have a lot of making up to do after the loss of two players to ACL injury - most notably all-county point-guard Jillian Piccinich. Oceanside, too, was dealt a tremendous blow with the loss of their two most experienced players to season-ending ACL injuries.
For the story on Garden City, look no further than Diana Leondis. The all-state senior point guard scored her 1,000th career point last season and will again lead the Trojans, still smarting from last year's postseason upset by Westbury.