Numbers are an issue for Central’s girls’ program and head coach Malyssa Thorngren expects to maintain a varsity roster of 10 — up from 7 last winter — “unless someone progresses and warrants a call-up,” she said.
The Eagles capped an otherwise difficult Covid-shortened season with their only victory over New Hyde Park but return only two participants from that game roster — sophomore Faizat Shekoni who had 8 points and junior Danica Pryce who had 3.
“We’re hurting for experience and numbers, and the offseason was tough because we weren’t able to hold our usual clinics,” Thorngren said. “It’s going to be interesting going back to Class AA and we booked a lot of quality opponents in non-leagues.”
The Eagles will prepare for a challenging conference slate by facing the likes of South Side, Hewlett and Bethpage, as well as participating in the prestigious Freeport Tournament.
The return of senior point guard Ariana Haughton to the district is a huge plus, Thorngren said. Haughton spent two years at Christ The King and brings a great handle, court vision and defensive skills. “Ariana is a strong floor leader and the position was going to be a concern, so it’s nice to have her back,” Thorngren said.
Sophomore Alyssa Santiago comes off an All-County soccer season and is a standout athlete who hustles all over the court and drives to the rim. Pryce is another scrappy player who rebounds well for a guard and will be counted on to help lead the defense.
Senior Faizah Munawar is back on the hardwood after not playing last season and is a “great rebounder and defender in the paint,” Thorngren said, and has a nice elbow jumper. Shekoni is a returning varsity forward who saw quite a bit of playing time last winter and turned her offense up a notch down the stretch.