Valley Stream North's engine cranked


If you couldn’t tell by its 9-2 overall and 5-0 conference record, a steady defense and a crisp offense are what’s working for the Valley Stream North boys’ basketball team.
Coming into the season, defense was heavily stressed. On average, VSN limits opponents to around 51 points per game.
“Being a defensive-minded team is just the main focus for us on the court,” head coach Mike McVeigh said. “We hope that that can just continue getting better, so at the end of the year, we’re better than we were at the beginning of the year.”
That certainly held true in VSN’s 56-54 double OT victory over Floral Park on Jan. 4.
“[Our defense] held them down lower than I think they were used to… defensively I think we played pretty hard,” McVeigh said. “We could have easily lost that game.”

Offensively, the Spartans have senior Dominic Obukwelu as one of the leading scorers in the conference at 19.4 points per game. He posted a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) against Floral Park.
“[Obukwelu] has had a really outstanding start to the year,” McVeigh said. “He can get to the rim, he can shoot the three, he’s super athletic, and I think his leadership has really helped out our team every day where he comes in and he’s one of the hardest working guys.”
There are also other players like senior Jalen Harrison, who is his own playmaker.
“He’s so fast and he’s really hard to stop. Most of the time, the kind of shot he wants to get, he can get it for himself,” McVeigh said, but it doesn’t stop there. “Those two really set the tone for our team and then it’s easier to follow when those two guys are just doing what they normally do.
Senior big man Danny Kosior, who had 17 rebounds in the Floral Park win, has been making a name for himself amongst the starting five this season. “He’s super athletic, he gets rebounds, like, it’s really impressive watching him rebound the ball,” McVeigh said. “He doesn’t really get as much credit because he doesn’t really care too much about how many points he scores.”
Dominic’s younger brother, sophomore Noah Obukwelu, as well as sophomore Vincent Rienzie, provide quality minutes regularly off the bench, and McVeigh is confident in anyone he brings to the court. Rienze and freshman Tristan Mitchell both had 14 points against Floral Park.
“I think one of our strengths is that we have a depth of talent on the team; we have a lot of depth where there’s a bunch of different guys that could come in off the bench and provide a spark and give us offense and defense and I think that’s been the difference this year,” McVeigh said. “A lot of times you have guys off the bench, they’re just trying to play defense and bring some energy for the team, but these guys do that and more.”
With just over half a dozen games left this season, McVeigh left one thing in mind: “Focus on the next game, then we can see how we can stack things up.”
The Spartans visit Plainedge this Saturday at noon.