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North Shore’s Gabby Zaffiro is Athlete of the Week

North Shore's Gabby Zaffiro.

North Shore's Gabby Zaffiro. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Gabby Zaffiro’s scoring outburst on Sunday didn’t have the feel of a 51-point game . . . if that’s even possible.

The North Shore junior, already the school’s all-time leading girls basketball scorer, surpassed the 1,500-point plateau with a three-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer and broke her school single-game scoring record in the Vikings’ 80-40 win over Summit Academy at the Francis Lewis Winter Ball.

“It was a quiet 51,” coach Keith Freund said. “She had 35 points in the first half, but I had no idea. There was so much ball movement and everyone was involved.”

She scored 35 of her team’s 48 first-half points and was taken out of the game with six minutes remaining because the Vikings had a sizable lead.

She followed that up with 37 points in a victory over Island Trees. Her exploits earned her Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.

“We were just playing as a team, as a unit,” said Zaffiro, whose previous school record of 41 points was set last January. “My points came in the flow of the game.”

Zaffiro hit her threes against Summit as she generally does, but 10 of her points came on putbacks and another 12 came on backdoor cuts to the basket.

“She’s allowing the game to come to her more,” Freund said. “She’s letting the offense come to her instead of trying to force things.”

Perhaps another advantage was the basketball itself. Zaffiro said North Shore now uses a harder, rougher ball than in the past. The balls provided at Francis Lewis more closely resembled what she was used to.

Zaffiro — who has received interest from several Ivy League schools, Freund said — has been leading boxscores through North Shore’s first five games, scoring 29, 16, 33, 51 and 37 points and leading the Vikings to a 4-1 record.

Her blend of shooting touch from outside and driving ability near the basket make her a nightmare for opposing defenses to contain.

That’s been the case for some time now, as she averaged 27.2 points per game last year and is averaging a Long-Island-best 32.5 points this season.

At her current pace, she will reach the 2,000-point mark toward the end of this season or early in her senior campaign. She would be the 21st girls basketball player in Long Island history to accomplish the feat, according to Newsday records.

“Coach always had confidence in me,” she said. “He predicted a while ago that I would get to 2,000 points.”

With efforts like Sunday, she could get there sooner than later.


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