Boys’ Hoop Team Improves into Contender

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Boys’ Hoop Team Improves into Contender

Grace Anne McKenna, Editor in Chief

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The Wantagh boys’ basketball team had a successful season under first-year head coach Joe Harclerode. Going into the season, the Warriors had their work cut out for them. The team was extremely young. Starting sophomores included Nick Teresky and Brandon Goldberg. Additional starting athletes included juniors Kyle Graham, Ray Rathgaber and Andrew Chatham. Starting senior captains were Finn Duignan, Chris Hogan, and Matt Reich.

“The team improved immensely from the beginning of the season,” said Coach Harclerode, who is the husband of Wantagh social studies teacher Mrs. Harclerode.

At the start of the season, the Warriors competed against some of the best AA schools in Nassau County. They suffered a tough loss against Bellmore JFK and struggled at times against powerhouse teams including Plainview JFK. The Warriors lost a close home game against Mepham and later in the season, a one-point heartbreaker to Jericho.

The team steadily improved and entered league play against one of the best teams in their conference, Valley Stream North. Although the Warriors played a complete game, they ended up losing. After a rough start in the first round of league play, the team made a comeback compiling wins against Division and Lawrence. The Warriors needed to win 4 out of 6 games to qualify for playoffs. In the end, they won three of those games, just missing the playoffs.
There were several outstanding efforts during league play. During the first game against Lawrence, Matt Reich caught fire and hit numerous 3-pointers as the Warriors demolished Lawrence on its home court. Chris Hogan also played a great game filling in for point guard Finn Duignan, who could not play.

It was Duignan who led the way in the biggest win of the season, a 2-point victory over Bethpage. In the first game against Bethpage, the Eagles defeated the Warriors by 20 points. The next time around, Bethpage was coming off of an amazing win over soon-to-be-Conference Champ Floral Park. At the final buzzer, the Warriors beat the Eagles as Duignan led the team to victory.

Senior Andrew Randazzo also made some huge contributions to the team. His energy and tough defense inspired his teammates to play harder. Sophomore Nick Teresky also had a terrific season. The first year-varsity player had the difficult task of guarding the opponents’ toughest offensive player. Sophomore Brandon Goldberg averaged 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. He was a huge presence in the paint and made it difficult for opposing teams to score. Both Goldberg and Teresky qualified for the All-Conference Team in A III.

“It took awhile for the players to understand that their hard work in practice would eventually pay off in games,” said Harclerode.

Coach Harclerode also wanted to express his thanks to the coaching staff at Wantagh: Coach Hunter, Coach Nyberg and Coach Freeman.

Harclerode has been coaching basketball for 27 years on the varsity level. He began his career in the 1990’s at Clarke High School. He was the assistant varsity coach at Sayville for 5 years, qualifying for playoffs four years in a row. After completing his first year at Wantagh, Harclerode feels the Warriors will begin their own playoff streak.

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