Running intramurals for a couple of months prior to high-risk sports getting the green light to play helped East Meadow’s girls’ basketball team bring its conditioning level up to speed for a condensed season.
“We’re trying to squeeze eight games into a little more than three weeks and playing with masks on, so those intramurals really helped us prepare,” Jets head coach Peter Olenik said. “The girls are resilient and excited to be playing. I’m most excited for the seniors to get some games in, because for a long time it didn’t look like anything was going to happen.”
East Meadow split its first two games. It defeated Hicksville, 54-28, in the opener on Feb. 11, and then lost to Oceanside, 46-34, on Feb. 16. Senior Rhoda Williams scored in double figures in both games, hitting for 10 against Hicksville and 12 against Oceanside. Eighth-grader Allie Twible totaled 19 points in the two games.
Williams is a four-year varsity player who earned All-Conference honors last season and has been a consistent double-digit scorer. “Rhoda has great athleticism and really blossomed into a nice two-way player,” Olenik said.
Senior Julie Tanenblatt, who scored 9 points in the win over Hicksville, is a third-year point guard who can heat up at any time. “When Julie’s on, she can really put the ball in the basket,” Olenik said. “She’s always hustling up and down the floor and working hard at both ends.”
Twible is the heir apparent to Tanenblatt, and is a lockdown defender with scoring ability. Twible is a tremendous ball handler, Olenik said, and has a bright future. “She’s a rising star,” he said. Sophomore forward Isabella Pota is strong in the post with her defense and rebounding ability.
East Meadow trailed by 4 at halftime at Oceanside, which used a 12-point run in the third quarter to pull away after the Jets made it a one-possession game at 26-23. Jackie Sailer had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Sailors.
Oceanside’s Jenna Morgan hit an important 3-pointer late in the second quarter for a 21-14 lead after East Meadow scored 8 of 10 to close a double-digit gap to 4 points. Twible provided a spark for East Meadow, with 5 points in the quarter and 8 for the game. She had 11 against Hicksville. Freshmen Charlotte Viola and Brooke Vislocky added 9 and 7 points, respectively.