Long Island

Forecast 2017-18: Long Island girls basketball

by Dylan Butler on
Sat, Jul 1, 2017 5:14 PM — @Dylan_Butler

Updated Wed, Jul 5, 2017 10:07 AM

The 2016-17 season was a banner one for Long Island girls basketball.

Baldwin proved an early-season win over Ossining was no fluke by ending the Pride’s reign and winning a first-ever New York State Class AA title.

And then there was the magical run to a CHSAA state title by Kellenberg, which surpassed expectations to reach the Federation Class A semifinals.

What are some of the big storylines this winter?

No. 1 Can Baldwin repeat as state champions?

There’s no reason to believe they can’t, especially with guards Jenna Annecchiarico, Kaia Harrison and Aziah Hudson all returning. Not only will the Bruins be considered a favorite to win a second straight title, but a first Federation crown is a possibility.

No. 2 Will Long Island Lutheran return to its championship ways?

It always appears Rich Slater has an embarrassment of riches and this should again be the case for the Crusaders coach. Grace Stone, Amani Free, Jaida Patrick, Celeste Taylor and Emma Cuccurullo all gained valuable experience a year ago and will be hungry to return LuHi to their postseason prominence.

No. 3 Who will reign in Suffolk Class AA?

This might be the most difficult question to answer. Central Islip made a stunning run a year ago, winning a first county title since 1960. That ended Commack’s reign as back-to-back champions, while Ward Melville, Sachem East and Huntington should again be in the mix.

While those are a few of the questions, there is no doubt about the returning talent.

Among a talented group of players back is Baldwin’s Aziah Hudson, the All-Long Island Player of the Year by News 12 Varsity. The three-year starter, who has offers from Kansas, Hofstra, Old Dominion and Buffalo, is only the second player in school history to score 1,000 career points.

Also back is Kadaja Bailey, an athletic and versatile rising senior guard who averaged 19.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for St. Mary’s. The St. John’s verbal commit has already scored more than 1,500 career points.

After missing her freshman year due to injury, Ward Melville’s Lauren Hansen exploded for 22.7 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore. The 5-foot-8 rising junior guard has offers from Ohio State, Miami, Georgia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

As a sophomore, Celeste Taylor averaged 16 points, six rebounds and two steals per game for a Long Island Lutheran team that plays one of the most challenging schedules in the tri-state. The 5-foot-10 rising junior, who has offers from St. John’s, Ole Miss, Kentucky and Northwestern, helped lead the United States U-16 national team to a goal medal in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Buenos Aires.

 

2017 Long Island Girls Basketball Players to Watch

JENNA ANNECCHIARICO, Baldwin
5-foot-5 Senior Guard

MARYANN BAGONIS, Mepham
5-foot-6 Senior Forward

KADAJA BAILEY, St. Mary’s
6-foot Senior Guard, committed to St. John’s

JAMIE BEHAR, Oceanside
6-foot-2 Sophomore Forward

NAABEA ASSIBEY-BONSU, Central Islip
5-foot-6 Senior Guard

DANIELLE COSGROVE, Sachem East
6-foot-4 Senior Forward

EMMA CUCCURULLO, Long Island Lutheran
5-foot-10 Senior Forward

LIZ DWYER, Mattituck
5-foot-9 Senior Guard

AMANI FREE, Long Island Lutheran
5-foot-11 Senior Guard/Forward

NORA GABEL, Comsewogue
5-foot-9 Senior Guard

GIANNI GOTTI, Oyster Bay
5-foot-5 Senior Guard

LAUREN HACKETT, St. Anthony’s
5-foot-5 Senior Guard

LAUREN HANSEN, Ward Melville
6-foot-8 Junior Guard

TY’ZHEA HAWKINS, Brentwood
5-foot-5 Senior guard

KAIA HARRISON, Baldwin
5-foot-6 Junior Guard

CASEY HEARNS, Commack
5-foot-8 Senior Guard

GABBY HEIMBAUER, Massapequa
6-foot-2 Sophomore Forward

AZIAH HUDSON, Baldwin
5-foot-6 Senior Guard

ANNIE KEENAN, Sachem North
5-foot-11 Senior Forward

KEM NWABUDU, Elmont
5-foot-11 Senior Forward

SAM SCHULTZ, Kings Park
5-foot-11 Senior Guard

EMILY SHURINA, East Meadow
5-foot-9 Senior Guard/Forward

GRACE STONE, Long Island Lutheran
5-foor-10 Senior Guard

CELESTE TAYLOR, Long Island Lutheran
5-foot-10 Junior Guard

ZHANEIA THYBULLE, Elmont
5-foot-8 Senior Guard

GABBY ZAFFIRO, North Shore
5-foot-9 Senior Guard

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