Cougars work to continue success


The announcement there would be basketball played in Nassau County last season was exciting for all teams, but the decision not to conduct playoffs was heartbreaking for those with championship aspirations like Kennedy.

The Cougars, who brought back plenty of starpower from their Class A semifinal appearance in 2019-2020, went 8-0 last winter. “It was nice to be able to play, but at the same time it was upsetting we didn’t get to see it through and see how far we could go,” head coach Mallory Freeley said. “Now we’re trying to build it back up. We stand a chance to do well again if we can get all of our eggs in order.”

A mix of veterans and varsity newcomers will comprise the starting five for Kennedy, which has South Side, Hewlett and Manhasset among its conference foes. Senior guards Jamie Maroof and Sarah Klein are both coming off Honorable Mention All-County campaigns and lead the way, Freeley said.

Maroof, a four-year varsity player, thrives in pressure situations, Freeley noted, and will take on a much larger offensive role. “Jamie’s a spot-up shooter with terrific form and can get to the basket as well,” she said. Klein, a three-sport athlete, will be tasked with picking up some of the scoring slack. “She’s a playmaker with great court vision,” Freeley said.

Sophomore Ella Galjanich takes over point guard duties and will be counted on to protect the ball and distribute. “She got some varsity minutes last season and has a good handle and knows how to direct traffic,” Freeley said.

The frontcourt features junior Gianna Costaro, an outside shooting threat who works hard on the boards, freshman Ashley St. Surin, a true post player with size and all the tools, and senior Faith Gunn, a 6-foot-plus center.

“Any of our five starters can score in double figures on any given night,” Freeley said.