County Finals, Here We Come


Heading into Saturday’s Nassau County girls’ basketball semifinal game against 13th-seeded Bellmore JFK, Floral Park knew it needed to stop the two scoring machines for the Cougars. Juniors Cameron Montalbano (20.7) and Rachel Nossen (18.3) were averaging close to 40 combined points this year.

But apparently, they hadn’t faced the likes of freshman phenom Maya Bateau and the suffocating Lady Knights’ defense. Anchored by Bateau’s 15 blocks, Floral Park held the Bellmore JFK duo to nine and three points respectively as the team cruised into another county final with a 46-25 victory.

After defeating Division (12-0 in league play) and always dangerous Sewanhaka, it appeared that Bellmore could pose a threat to Floral Park’s unblemished record. And coached by the wife of former Floral Park Memorial graduate, basketball star and basketball coach Mr. Freely, Bellmore certainly had a good scouting report. The game opened with very little scoring. As has been their mantra all season, the Floral Park defense was just relentless. Montalbano and Nossen simply could not get anything going offensively as the Lady Knights methodically increased its lead, racing into half-time up 25-7.

In the second half, Bellmore settled in a bit, but the deficit was too much to overcome. As the Cougars tried to press Floral Park, coach Spina’s well-oiled machine of a team used precision passing for one layup after another. Erin Harkins (15 points), Bateau (10) and Amanda Kozak (9) led the scoring effort while point guard Jaeda Delsoin continued her outstanding senior season with nine assists. Caroline Lubicich and Emma Cheslock also contributed nicely to the all-around, team effort.

So now the game that most of Nassau County has been waiting for is finally here. The only two undefeated Class A teams remaining in all of New York State, Floral Park and Locust Valley, will have their 22-0 records on the line this Saturday, 2:30 pm, at SUNY Farmingdale, for the Nassau County championship. In the latest New York State Sportswriters rankings, Floral Park is 7th while Locust Valley is 16th. This is an epic matchup, one that you won’t want to miss. Come out in red and white to support the Lady Knights as they go for the school’s sixth title.