Suffolk Class AA
Favorite: Northport. The Tigers are undefeated and have the experience over most of the other top contenders with four senior starters. The 6-4 Stephanie Leon is a deterrent inside and a good rebounder and doesn’t face anyone her size. Chrystal Pope has done a great job moving to the point, Megan Marinelli is a terrific defender, while Allie Clark and Kellie Cortina solidify a good starting unit. The defense is very good, too. Wins over Deer Park and Whitman stand out.
Biggest competition: Sachem East and North Babylon. Sachem East has a different look this season, but the defending state champions have yet to lose to a Long Island team with the lone setback coming against Molloy. Meagan Doherty is playing through a painful knee, Kathleen Everson is an impressive freshman, and Emily Carmel is an excellent shooter. Most of the team didn’t log heavy minutes in last season’s run, but the experience of playing in big games should help. A 56-51 win over Lindenhurst is the biggest win against a Long Island team.
North Babylon. The Bulldogs are oozing talent. Charise Wilson is a freshman, but has played on varsity since seventh grade. Freshman Tamara Simpson has been impressive and eighth grader Brianna Jones is extremely talented. Mary Chisholm has done a good job rebounding. The biggest win came against Riverhead, 59-52.
Lindenhurst: The core of the team has been together for a few years. Could really make some noise with a win over Sachem East at home. Might be a year away, but could reach the final four.
Whitman: A win over Northport in the second matchup could propel them into the postseason. A good defensive team.
Deer Park: Wins over Floyd, Whitman, and Riverhead to open the season opened eyes, but a lopsided loss to Northport followed. In line to get the four seed if it wins League IV.
Riverhead: A young team with a dynamic backcourt of Shaniece Allen and Jalyn Brown. Melodee Riley has played well lately also.
Favorite: Harborfields. Should be a competitive playoffs with three good teams at the top, but the defending champions have won three of the last four titles and are the team to beat. An excellent defensive team that plays well in the big spot and a 46-38 road win over Kings Park makes them the favorite. Can get offense from Kasey Stolba, Bridgit Ryan, Alexia O’Connor, and Lynn Zhong.
Biggest competition: Glenn and Kings Park. Meghan Eckel, Marion Kawecki, Daniel Buoncore, and Taylor Bailey form a good unit. Kings Park has some size and runs the floor well. The key will be how the teams fares in the halfcourt since a lot of its offense comes from transition. The Kingsmen struggled against Harborfields in the halfcourt. Glenn remains undefeated and has stalwart Allison McKenna. When she gets extra attention inside, Emma Klis and Danielle Evers are capable of hitting the outside shots.
Miller Place: Shown the ability to be explosive at times, but inconsistent.
Islip: A six-point loss to Harborfields shows this team won’t be an easy out.
Favorite: Center Moriches. The gap was supposed to be close between the defending champions and the rest of the league and it hasn’t happened. Amber Davis is one of the top players on the Island and Kelsey Glanzman has taken on more of an offensive role. Takia Plummer has done a good job as the point guard and Emma Whittle can hit the three. Won at second-place Wyandanch, 57-41. Impressive wins over Deer Park, Harborfields, and Riverhead. Losses came against Baldwin and Long Island Lutheran, which are two of the better teams on the Island.
Biggest competition: Wyandanch and Southampton. Wyandanch is always a threat. DeJanae Mike, Jalicia Robinson, Lineker St. Hilaire lead the way. Southampton is very young, but many have played on varsity for two years. Paris Hodges, Kesi Goree, and Cassidy Guida lead a team that might be a year away.
Favorite: Stony Brook. Yes, I know the defending champions lost to Pierson/Bridgehampton, but it was a 35-33 loss. The Bears are a slight favorite because of their experience. Brannon Burke, Natalie Istrati, and Jessica Winston lead the way.
Biggest competition: Pierson/Bridgehampton. The team has experience and had a big win at Stony Brook. Sarah Bennett, Samantha James, and Emily Hinz lead the way.