Girls Basketball Preview

first_imgPierson senior Chastin Giles finished last season averaging 12 points per game on 82 field goals, 21 three-pointers, and 60 free throws. Independent/Gordon M. GrantA feisty pair has returned to Pierson’s basketball court.Senior point guard Chastin Giles and sophomore guard Sofia Mancino bring back all the grit that first-year head coach Woody Kneeland will be looking for after the Whalers graduated 10 seniors from last year’s squad, including his niece, Katie Kneeland, who led the team in points (377).“Chastin is tough as nails, so is Sofia,” Kneeland said. “Sofia is a vocal leader where Chastin leads by her play. Both make their teammates better.”The pair will steer a 10-girl roster, but Kneeland said he looks at it as he’s 10 players deep, knowing the girls who returned and many of the younger ones joining having coached the junior varsity team while being an assistant on varsity under former head coach Kevin Barron the last two seasons. His brother George, Katie’s father, who has worked with the basketball teams at Pierson at different levels over the last 18 years, also returns as an assistant.“There’s a lot of new kids coming up and there’s definitely an inexperienced factor, but they’re all great players,” Kneeland said. “I’ve been putting them through the ringer with the best of the Class A school during the nonleague games (0-3 against Eastport-South Manor, Westhampton Beach, and Sayville). I’m making it tough for them because I want them to learn quickly.”The Whalers JV team, along with the varsity girls, finished their league schedules undefeated last season. From his old team he’ll be looking for Grace Perello, who the coach said has a “scorer’s mentality,” to contribute some of what was lost with the departure of his niece, but said he sees all the girls being big contributors on either side of the court down the line. Heidi Wilson replaces Kneeland as the JV coach.“We’re more balanced than last year,” he said. “Once we get rolling and get some confidence, we’ll be there.”The coach said if any opponent thinks taking Giles (287 points last season) out of the game is an automatic win, he’d ask them to think again.“It’s not going to work,” Kneeland said.He’ll still be looking to her tremendously though.“Chastin is a college-level basketball player,” he said. “She helps the other girls get easier baskets too because she gets them in the right spots.”Senior guard and forward Mahlia Hemby is also returning, along with classmates Kathryn Powell, a center, and Kneeland’s daughter, Halle, a guard, both of whom rejoin the Whalers after not playing last season.“Kathryn is strong on offense and defense. Halle adds to the defensive side,” Kneeland said. “They’re going to play.”There’s been a consistent basketball culture in Pierson as of late, with the teams making the postseason the last six seasons, and Kneeland is hoping this year is no different. The Whalers are looking to defend their Suffolk County title won last year while going 17-3 overall.“They’re a fast, tough bunch. They’re some of the fastest kids I’ve seen,” Kneeland said, laughing. “The athleticism is there. They also play great defense. These girls are going to have a complete game soon and I’m excited about it.”Pierson will play Hampton Bays on the road in the Whalers’ first League VII game of the season on Wednesday, December 11, at 5:45 PM. The team travels to Port Jefferson December 16 for a 4:30 PM matchup.Hurricanes Have Room To GrowAlthough losing just one senior to graduation, Westhampton head coach Katie Peters says the absence of center/forward Lindsay Rongo creates a completely different dynamic within her team.“Lindsay Rongo was big for us,” she said. “She was a strong defensive player, was a leader both on and off the court. She was also good for putting in eight to 12 points when we needed it. She was a spark when we needed it, and would recognize that.”That’s not to say she doesn’t think she has the talent to fill her shoes.Peters thinks returning juniors Molly Skorobohaty and Caroline Henke could do just that.“They play strong defense. They hustle,” the coach said. “And they have experience with valuable game minutes.”Young returners with lots of playing time are Rongo’s younger sister Olivia (132 points last season), a guard, who started multiple games as a freshman, and sophomore guard Molly McCarthy (180 points), who the coach said is more confident this season.She expects big things from both girls, but will be leaning on seniors Belle Smith (453 points last season) and Layla Mendoza (132 points) to lead the way.Smith, an All-American lacrosse standout and All-County volleyball player surpassed 1300 points last season to break the Hurricanes’ scoring record. Smith has a good on-court chemistry with Mendoza, who missed the second half of the 2018-19 season with a torn ACL.“They’re picking up right where they left off,” Peters said. “Layla has a strong interior post game. She’s fast, she’s athletic, she can jump. She and Belle are a dynamic duo. It’s tough to stop both of them.”Junior Amanda White, who played at St. Anthony’s the last two seasons, will be added value at guard, classmate Ella Donneson will aid under the boards, and sophomore Molly Mensch will add points fighting from the post. Donneson and Mensch are both up from the JV team.“There’s a lot of room for us to grow in a lot of ways on both ends of the court,” Peters said. “We’ve talked about getting back to where we were, but understand there’s a lot of games to play. We’re going to take it game by game. We can’t overlook anybody. Each day we’ll try to play our best and be our best and let the chips fall where they will.”Mendoza finished Westhampton’s League VI-opening 50-39 win over Elwood-John Glenn December 6 with 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Smith had 13 points, 10 steals, and six rebounds. The Hurricanes traveled to Bayport-Blue Point December 10, but results were not available by press time.Southampton Also Replacing Key PlayerSouthampton will be without Taylor Pike, the Mariners’ primary ball hander in 2018, who scored 256 points last season.The team fell one win short of making the playoffs, and Pike’s 13.5 points-per-game average was a major contributing factor in that. But there is talent returning to this League VII team, too.Sophomore point guard Madison Taylor is a travel basketball player who finished with 142 points last season; sophomore Gabby Arnold will continue guarding against opponent’s toughest competitors (75 points); and junior guard/forward Cristine Delgado led the team in minutes last season and is a strong defender who stays out of foul trouble (109). Back on the team is Ishanti Gumbs. She played for Riverhead last season and finished the season with 150 points as a junior.Senior Alysha Thomas (68 points), captains this Mariners team with classmate Caraline Oakley (60). Thomas competed on the same Amateur Athletic Union team during the offseason as Gumbs and Taylor.Sophomore Carli Cameron, from the soccer team, is up from JV, and juniors Riley Zorko and Bimela Ramkhelawan are also new additions.The Mariners started the season with a 71-36 win over Smithtown Christian December 6. Delgado had 15 points, five steals, and three assists; Taylor scored 11 points; Oakley had eight points and 15 rebounds; and Thomas added eight points and 12 rebounds.East Hampton Looking To BuildEast Hampton is hoping to improve upon its one-win 2018-19 season, but will have to do so while also bumping up to face new League V opponents.As with other schools, just one player, Connie Chan, graduated from last year’s team.Seniors Emma Silvera (98 points), Alden Powers (14), Tia Weiss (41), Emily Brewer (53), and Kailey Marmeno (31) have returned along with juniors Paige Cardone (74) and Eva Wojtusiak (19). Ashley Peters and Armani Gordon are new seniors joining the varsity squad with freshmen Baye Bogetti, Caroline DiSunno, and Claire McGovern. The Bonackers host their first league opponent, Islip, Thursday, December 12, at 4:30 PM.desiree@indyeastend.com Sharelast_img read more

Coach name side for Women’s Nations Cup

first_imgSoccer Papua New Guinea women’s head coach Peter Gunemba has named a strong squad for the upcoming Oceania Football Confederation Women’s Nations Cup in New Caledonia next week. Peter Gunemba, who is also the head coach of PNG champion club Toti City FC, has named 21 women in his squad which has a good blend of experience and a number of exciting young players. Eight players – young goal keeper Faith Kasiray, Yvonne Gabong, Meagen Gunemba, Ramona Padio, Judith Gunemba, Sandra Birum, Marie Kaipu and Margaret Joseph – have played more international matches for Papua New Guinea – while others are at the start of their international careers like Rayleen Bauelua, Theresah Boie, Fidorah Namuesh, Elizabeth Elizah, Cynthia Pulou, Merolyn Sali, Eunice Nabalu, Betty Sam and Stephanie Gani. Gunemba who is not new to the job knows what it takes to prepare a team for such competitions on a big stage. “I am confident with the players I have in my squad,” said Gunemba. “We haven’t had a huge amount of time to prepare, but since we started camp on Monday the girls are picking up well as we go through series of training phases. “Unfortunately we lost three of our good players – Yasap Ganu and Zeenah Toropoi were dropped due to passport issues while Lavina Hola left on medical grounds.” Gunemba said his team would take nothing for granted but believes the results in New Caledonia will determine their preparations. The PNG senior women will complete their week-long training camp in Lae on Sunday before flying to New Caledonia on Tuesday November 13. Fixtures: Pool A – PNG v Samoa (Nov 18), PNG v New Caledonia (Nov 21) and PNG v Tahiti (Nov 24). PNG senior women squad: Faith Kasiray, Betty Sam, Rita Mayang, Merolyn Sali, Judith Gunemba, Olita Upaupa, Yvonne Gabong, Stephanie Gani, Sandra Birum, Margaret Joseph, Rayleen Bauelua, Selina Unamba, Meagen Gunemba, Ramona Padio, Cynthia Pulou, Georgina Bakani, Marie Kaipu, Eunice Nabalu, Theresah Boie, Elizabeth Elizah, Fidorah Namuesh. Team officials: Head coach – Peter Gunemba, Assistant coach Margaret Aka, Team manager – Rister Sovo, Equipment manager – Catherine Wamapiri.last_img read more

President Trump: U.S., North Korea already talking ‘at extremely high levels’

first_imgOlivier Douliery – Pool/Getty Images(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that members of his administration are already talking to officials in North Korea “at extremely high levels” about his possible summit with Kim Jong Un.“We have also started talking to North Korea directly, at extremely high levels,” Trump said during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar—a—Lago resort in Florida.Trump made the surprise announcement as he kicked off his two days of talks with Abe. Both leaders said the potential Trump-Kim summit is expected to dominate their agenda, along with discussions on trade.Just after Abe’s arrival, Trump reacted to news that South Korea and North Korea were nearing a potential agreement to announce the end of their decades-long military conflict ahead of a meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-In and Kim Jong-Un.Trump said the two countries “have my blessing” to discuss ending the war, and said Asian leaders have given him significant credit for the recent series of positive developments pointing towards potential lasting peace in the Korean peninsula.“They’ve been very generous that without us and without me in particular, I guess, they wouldn’t be discussing anything and the Olympics would have been a failure,” Trump said.Trump said that he and Abe are “very unified” on the issue of North Korea, and said there are five separate locations under consideration as he plans to meet with Kim Jong Un in early June or before that. But the president also added a potential caveat.“Assuming things go well, it’s possible things won’t go well and we won’t have the meeting,” Trump said. “We will see what happens.”Speaking to reporters in advance of Abe’s arrival, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and senior director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council Matthew Pottinger emphasized that Trump and Abe have a close friendship and that Trump has met with Abe more than any other foreign leader since taking office 14 months ago.Trump said that he and Abe hope to play a round of golf together, if possible — saying the pair would “sneak out” to hit the links tomorrow at one of Trump’s nearby golf courses if they have the time.Kudlow was also asked about his new role announced last week after a meeting the president held with lawmakers at the White House to consider the U.S. potentially negotiating to re-join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade accord the president routinely derided as a “terrible deal” while he was a candidate for the presidency.“There’s nothing at all concrete,” Kudlow said. “On the American side at the moment, it’s more of a thought than a policy.”Kudlow insisted the Japanese are open to discussions about potentially reentering, but said such a deal would only happen if the U.S. is able to achieve a more favorable deal.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMatico Relatedlast_img read more