Valley Stream Central looks to keep pace


After winning just three games last winter, the Valley Stream Central boys' basketball team has already surpassed that total this season (five) with just under a month left to play.

The Eagles are looking to keep pace in a strong conference as they also build towards the future.

They have a new look this season as they’re led by head coach Michael Wimmer, the team's fourth bench boss in as many years. Even though Wimmer did not know much about the program going in, he still had a sense that this team could compete.

“When I took it over, I didn’t know what to expect,” Wimmer said. “I felt right away that there’s potential here and there’s definitely an opportunity to win some games.”

Valley Stream Central (5-8 overall) has a good mix of athletes on its roster, which is headlined by a starting five of Jayden Vera, Bryan Jean-Pierre, Oniel Spence, Saige Frisco, and Sean O’Neil. The youngest of the five is O’Neil, a freshman who’s averaging 8.5 points per game, third best on the team.

“He’s as polished a ninth grader as I’ve gotten to coach,” Wimmer said. “He picks up the other team's best player every night.”

Vera, one of six seniors, leads the club in points per game (11.2) and is one of two players averaging double figures (Frisco, 10.5.) “He plays multiple positions for us,” Wimmer said. “His aggression is fantastic and when you combine that with his skill set, he’s doing some nice things for us.”

A four-point win on Jan. 11 versus Westbury broke a four-game skid for the Eagles, and they’ll look to build some momentum off that performance. Frisco led the way with 14 points while Vera recorded a double-double of 11 rebounds and ten points.

VSC led by 19 at halftime, but the lead was down to just two points with 12 seconds to play.

“The first half we were getting anything offensively that we wanted,” Wimmer said. “We shouldn’t have been in that situation. We still have to learn how to play that full game all the way through.”

The Eagles are looking to improve on both ends of the floor down the stretch. This includes their ability to close out games.

“This season matters to these kids,” Wimmer said. “It’s just a matter of continuing to grow together. It only grows through confidence and sustained success.”

The Eagles compete in Conference AA2, which features Baldwin, Port Washington, East Meadow, Plainview JFK, Oceanside, Herricks, and Westbury. It won’t be easy going forward as VSC plays each school one more time, but Wimmer feels that his group could turn some heads over the second half of the schedule.

“We’re getting better at this,” Wimmer said. “We’ve got a few more games to continue this on the direction it's going and hopefully it puts us in a position to play a little bit longer.”

The Eagles visit Oceanside this Friday at 7 p.m.