Darrian Jackson #11 of Uniondale, left, dribbles downcourt under pressure...

Darrian Jackson #11 of Uniondale, left, dribbles downcourt under pressure from Isabel Aristy #12 of Farmingdale during the fourth quarter of a Nassau County Conference AAA-I girls basketball game at Uniondale High School on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. Credit: James Escher

Darrian Jackson was held scoreless in the first half on Monday. But the Uniondale guard, who is one of the top scorers on Long Island, wasn’t overly concerned. Her teammates picked up the early scoring as the Knights entered halftime within one possession. The senior had a mature outlook on the situation.

“It happens,” Jackson said. “You can have an off day or an off quarter sometimes.”

Likewise, you can have a quarter where you can seemingly do no wrong. That was Jackson coming out of halftime as she scored 15 points in the third quarter and host Uniondale defeated Farmingdale, 54-37, in Nassau Conference AAA-I girls basketball play on Monday.

Jackson made four three-pointers in the third quarter en route to finishing with 20 points, six assists and six steals.

“My team was keeping me calm because I wasn’t really scoring much,” Jackson said. “I was in a little bit of foul trouble but they helped me to stay calm and kept me in my zone to put the ball in the basket.”

Jackson’s first basket of the contest came on a three-pointer to give Uniondale a 20-18 lead less than two minutes into the third quarter after trailing 18-15 at halftime. She also had a three-point play to give Uniondale a 25-24 lead after Farmingdale regained the advantage.

“She came out locked in and focused after a first half of being in foul trouble and not really finding her flow,” coach Nolan Dunkley said. “She found it in the third quarter.”

Uniondale outscored Farmingdale 39-19 in the second half. Zahara Saintyl scored eight of her 21 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 12 rebounds and six blocks.

The Knights went 11-9, including 5-7 in the conference last year. They are off to a 9-1 start this year, including 3-1 in the conference.

“Honestly, we just have a different mindset this season,” Saintyl said. “Practice, games, we come out ready to play hard and we play as a team.”

Farmingdale (1-2) closed the first quarter on a 12-0 run to take a 12-4 lead after the initial period. Emily Markovina had 17 points and Leela Guobadia scored 15 for the Dalers. Eniola Adisa added nine points and five assists for Uniondale.

Despite a slow start both personally for Jackson and the Knights as a team, they remained focused on capturing the victory. “We’re just here to earn everybody’s respect,” Jackson said. “And show everybody that we’re here and we’re ready to play.”

Dunkley said this is “probably the strongest group” he’s coached at Uniondale and said he feels the team can “make some noise.”

Jackson’s ability to take over a contest combined with a tough team defense displayed how quickly the game can shift for the Knights.

“It’s like a symphony orchestrated,” Dunkley said. “You can see everyone in tune together when we have everything locked in, so we just want to put that together in longer stretches over the course of the game.”

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