Class A girls basketball just got a lot tougher.
Because of changes in enrollment size, Hauppauge and Kings Park are among the three former Class AA teams moving into Suffolk A, joining a field that includes reigning county champion Mount Sinai.
“They’re excellent basketball teams,” Mount Sinai coach Jeff Koutsantanou said. “They’re going to make the whole class a lot tougher because they’re well coached with talent.”
Class AA includes the teams in Leagues I through IV and those schools with 910 or more students. The teams in Class A have enrollments between 480 and 909 students and compete in Leagues V and VI.
Hauppauge (887 students) reached the semifinals last season and Kings Park (879) made the quarterfinals in AA before both were eliminated by Commack. East Islip (892), which missed last season’s playoffs, is also making the move from AA to A.
The three newcomers will play in League V, along with solid Sayville and Harborfields teams.
“They know our league is significantly difficult now with Hauppauge, East Islip and Kings Park especially,” Sayville coach Phil DePompeo said of his team. “As far as I’m concerned, we have the hardest league in the county.”
Mount Sinai and Shoreham-Wading River play in League VI and round out the top contenders for the Class A title.
“It makes you start all over again as far as scouting is concerned,” Kings Park coach Tom Edmundson said. “We’d been in AA five years in a row, so you knew about other teams and you had an idea of what you’re getting into game to game. This forces us to go back to work and check out schools we haven’t seen in a long time.”
The newcomers will have to contend with a Mount Sinai team that is strong on both sides of the ball. The Mustangs scored 68.0 points per game but only allowed 36.7 points per game en route to the Class A county final.
Versatile point guard Gabby Sartori leads the team after averaging 14 points and four assists last season. Fellow guard Brooke Cergol is a strong defender, while 5-9 power forward Olivia Williams anchors the Mustangs inside.
Kings Park will be powered by its backcourt, led by NJIT commit Samantha Schultz. The 5-10 senior can shoot from anywhere on the court and also get to the rim, and will be flanked by fellow guards Haley Jette and Sam Hogan and forward Izzy Buffa.
Hauppauge will be strong on the interior, led by 6-0 post scorer Lindsey Devine and 6-3 shotblocker Lauren Romito.
Central Islip is looking to repeat as county champion and is keyed by point guard Naabea Assibey-Bonsu, an adept passer and defender.
Commack, last season’s county runner-up, is the other favorite in the classification, led by versatile 5-9 guard Casey Hearns.
Longwood is on the rise with wing Nyia Longford and could have the talent to compete with the top teams. Ward Melville’s Lauren Hansen, Sachem East’s Danielle Cosgrove, Brentwood’s Ty’Zhea Hawkins and Sachem North’s Annie Keenan also feature in the perennially challenging League I.
Classes B and C
Liz Dwyer is an outstanding talent for Mattituck, which won the last two Long Island Class B championships and will be favored to win a third.
Port Jefferson reached last season’s state final, but graduated its entire starting lineup, leaving Class C wide open.