2002-12-28 / Sports

Stella Maris Basketball Off To Strong Start

Stella Maris Basketball Off To Strong Start

Stella Maris’ Varsity and J.V. basketball teams welcomed the Christmas break as a respite from a very hectic league schedule. The vacation marks the unofficial end to the first half of the season. Both teams have had strong starts: the senior squad with a record of 5-1 and the JV with a record of 4-1.

The JV boasts several "peninsula phenoms" in Catherine Rudden, Kelley McKinley, Maureen Carey and Erin Casey. OLPH (South Ozone Park) standout Jennifer Greene rounds out the starting 5. The squad, with 18 players, utilizes a full-court man-to-man defense and an up-tempo offensive assault. Coach John Raphael’s philosophy of "wear ‘em down and wear ‘em out" not only makes for some very entertaining basketball and allows for optimal participation but is quite successful!

The V squad literally feeds off of Marybeth Raphael (SFDS) and Natalie DeSanctis (St. Helen’s). Be it on offense (assists) or on the defensive end (110%, in your face "D"). The team is scoring over 75% of its points on the fastbreak. This stat says so much about the frontcourt play: boxing out, rebounding and post defense and the team’s ability and willingness to find the open person in the open court. And finally, points to the experience and leadership of the backcourt combo.

Another former SFDS standout is Marygrace Brady. Marygrace has entered a new dimension in high school basketball as she has switched from the frontcourt to the backcourt. Her knowledge of post play makes her a tough match up for other #2 guards (on the blocks) and her dead-on outside shooting (15 and 16 pt. highs) continues to earn her key minutes.

One early season program highlight was the victory over Nazareth H.S. The win was also the school’s 100th with Mrs. Maureen Gigliello at the helm. Mrs. Gigliello, in her 8th full season, was presented with flowers, a plaque and commemorative basketball. Captains Marybeth Raphael and Natalie DeSanctis followed by Principal Miss Geri Martinez addressed the spectators, faculty and family members on hand. The victory placed the team’s overall record (from 1994 thru present) at 100-69: a true testament to the ability and talent level of SM’s players throughout the years.

The coaches and players of Stella Maris High School offer their best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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