Spartans look to keep up tradition


New Elmont girls head coach Pete Lawson takes over a team that fought through a shortened 2021 season with little depth.

The Spartans battled to a 4-4 record with just seven players last winter and Lawson is hopeful that newcomers to the varsity can now step up to provide more of a bench. Lawson, who took over for longtime head coach Tom Mango, has familiarity with much of the roster after coaching the junior varsity program the past two seasons.

“We have expectations of going to the playoffs, but the team is an enigma,” said Lawson of the many new faces on varsity. “We’re just looking to play hard and just have fun this season.”

Returning senior Rae Sawyer (point guard), Kelliane Watkins (shooting guard) and Orobo Ogbovoh (forward) bring veteran leadership in Lawson’s first year leading the bench after receiving significant minutes as juniors.  Senior Deanna McLeish and junior Aryanna Pierre are also back on varsity and will add some depth at the guard position.

Lawson said he hopes newer players who were on JV last season can also step up to add more scoring options including Keilah Watkins, Naomi Steade, Anaise Novembre, Taylah Farquharson, Chi Chi Chikuezi and Anya Williams. 

He said reaching playoffs is the main goal, which can be accomplished with a .500 or better league record after there was no postseason held last season due to the pandemic. Like the boys, the Spartans compete in a challenging Conference A-II with Calhoun, Carey, Garden City, Glen Cove, Sewanhaka and Roslyn. 

“I’m really expecting this team to make the playoffs because Elmont has such a strong and rich tradition of being among the top teams and I would hate to disrupt that,” Lawson joked. “I’m hoping that that they are hungry and ready for it.”