Although the modern style of basketball has encouraged teams at all levels to shoot a barrage of three-pointers, the Seaford girls basketball team thrives off working the ball into the low post.
With Jaclyn Grzelaczyk and Maddie O’Hagan on opposite sides of the paint, it’s easy to see why. The Vikings utilized both frontcourt stars early and often against visiting Oyster Bay on Wednesday night, as both netted double-doubles in a 63-47 win over Oyster Bay in Nassau ABC.
The 6-foot Grzelaczyk had 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, while 5-10 O’Hagan had 19 points and 16 rebounds. Seaford had 17 offensive boards as a team.
“Most teams usually have one big player, so having two just means that if one big player has to guard me or Jaclyn, someone else has a mismatch,” O’Hagan said. “Then we also have the three shooters on the outside.”
Lilly Kolodinsky knocked down two three-pointers, benefiting from the extra attention shown in the paint.
Oyster Bay struggled to defend near the rim without 5-10 forward Destini Gaeckler but still showed life offensively thanks to Gianna Gotti. The senior scored 27 points and ranks second in Nassau County with 24.4 points per game. She showed range, hitting 6 of 10 shots from beyond the arc, and scored 18 of Oyster Bay’s 24 second-half points.
But Gotti and Elizabeth Reilly (10 points) weren’t enough to match Grzelaczyk and O’Hagan, as the two combined to score 14 of the team’s 20 points in the third quarter, increasing a nine-point halftime lead to a 21-point advantage at 51-30.
“Having me and Jaclyn is big because they have to pick one of us to guard,” O’Hagan said. “They can’t be in both places at once.”
When doubled by Oyster Bay (4-7), Grzelaczyk showed her quick-thinking and adept passing by shoveling the ball over to O’Hagan on the opposite side for several easy layups, including the game’s first and last baskets.
“I look to pass before I shoot in that position,” Grzelaczyk said. “But today specifically, we knew they were going to double-team me down low, so I knew to look for Maddie.”
Last year’s postseason run, which included a 56-40 win over Island Trees in the quarterfinals, gave Seaford confidence, according to O’Hagan. With five senior starters, the Vikings hope this is their year to make noise in Nassau A, one of the most competitive classifications on Long Island.
Seaford (10-1) has shooting options in Kolodinsky and twins Jenna and Julia Siler, but opting to work through its forwards could prove beneficial as the playoffs loom.
Given the all-or-nothing tendencies of three-point shooting teams, Seaford’s high-percentage offense could help them surprise the top teams in the classification.