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Emily Tierney excited to get back on court with Plainedge teammates

Emily Tierney of Plainedge, right, gets congratulated by

Emily Tierney of Plainedge, right, gets congratulated by teammate Julia Foppiano after scoring and drawing foul in the first quarter of a Nassau A-IV girls basketball game against Roosevelt. Credit: James Escher

Emily Tierney and her teammates were ready to get back out on the court on Wednesday night.

"It was a lot of fun," said Tierney, who scored all 19 of her points in the first half for the Plainedge girls basketball team in a one-sided Nassau A-IV road victory over Roosevelt in both teams’ season-opener. "It was nice to play with everyone again and just good to play again, even though things aren’t as normal as they could be."

Kerry Svraka also added 11 points for Plainedge.

Following the uncertainty of whether high-risk sports would be permitted to play this winter due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Plainedge coach Sarah Tansey said she’s told her players not to take their opportunities this season for granted.

"This season we talk about how there’s so much unknown," Tansey said. "You could be quarantined tomorrow and any game could be your last game. So just give it everything you’ve got."

However, with Roosevelt losing "six or seven players" who opted out of the season and being forced to elevate a number of players from the junior varsity squad, the game also highlighted the multitude of challenges that a number of programs around Long Island may encounter this season in terms of their level of competitiveness.

"We have a bunch of players who haven’t played much and mentally we’re a little beat up right now," Roosevelt coach Don Crummell said. "The easy thing to do would be to lay down. But that’s not what this program is about. We’ll rebound from this and hopefully we’ll get better."

While there is currently no rule penalizing teams for lopsided scores in girls basketball within Section VIII – the governing body of Nassau County high school sports – there is an understanding amongst coaches not to continue playing starters once the game becomes out of hand.

Crummell said he took no issue with the way Plainedge approached the game after getting out to a large double-digit lead.

"They didn’t press us," Crummell said. "They moved the ball and we kind of ran out of steam too with seven players playing for the first time. No issues at all. Sarah is a good coach."

Tansey said she became conscious of the score’s nature at 15-0 and quickly stopped trapping on defense and slowed down the pace with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter.

Crummell, who is African American, said the lack of quality youth programs in predominantly minority school districts like Roosevelt significantly impacts how they are affected by losing several players this season.

"I think realistically, schools of color are going to be behind the eight-ball," Crummell said. "Baldwin has a strong youth program, so they’re OK. And Freeport has the recreation center and everything else. But schools like Roosevelt, Westbury and Hempstead, there aren’t things for girls to do in the community. So some girls haven’t picked up a ball since last March."

"There are just many unknowns this season," Tansey said. "In some ways it may level the playing field for some schools, but for others it’s going to make it a pretty difficult uphill battle."

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