2006-12-01 / Sports

Sabbah Sets A New Foundation for Lady Seahorses

By Elio Velez

Les Sabbah admits that he had a change of heart about not returning as the head varsity girls' basketball coach at Far Rockaway.

A conversation with boys and girls soccer coach William Neylon in the fall erased any doubts Sabbah had in giving up the position. With that business squared away, his sole focus is to get his Lady Seahorses to bounce back from a down year in which a record of 7-11 in the Queens B1 Division was not good enough to qualify to the playoffs.

Sabbah has one building block with center Sandy Jean Francois, the fourth year basketball player who has improved in scoring and rebounding every year. The 6 foot 2 center, according to Sabbah "has looked amazing in practice", grabbed 11 points and 13 rebounds in a Seahorses 44-14 blowout win against Robert F. Kennedy in the PSAL B opener last Tuesday.

But the new blood will be the main storyline for the Lady Seahorses. In past seasons, former upperclassmen such as Shamar Stewartson, Nayima Reid and Patrice McKenzie made up the core of their playoff teams. Shantee Goggins, a 20 point per game scorer a year ago, transferred to Middle College at Medgar Evers High School.

Ninth and 10th graders will be the cogs needed to get to the playoffs this year and Sabbah is optimistic he's found some talent.

"I hope I get lucky and I've been saying that for years," Sabbah said.

He's had a tough time in the past of working with players who had experience playing the sport of basketball. Three ninth graders who made the team have those credentials and Sabbah says he will find playing time to maximize their talents.

The Anderson twins, Schiniqua and Schinequa has displayed plenty of speed and energy to make Sabbah breathe a little easier that they will eventually adjust to the position he needs most to stabilize his young team. Quenise Holland led the team in scoring against Kennedy with 16 points and may be the second scoring option needed to alleviate the pressure off of Francois. Stormie White and Latoya Bullock are seniors but this will be their first year of high school basketball. At 5 foot 10 and 5 foot 8 respectively, Sabbah expects them to provide some rebounding and interior defense.

We know it will be a competitive division," Sabbah says of some the teams like Queens High School of Teaching, Campus Magnet and Law Enforcement who will fight for the division crown. "We just want to move forward and keep improving every game."

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