Girls’ B-Ball Swishes Deep Playoff Run


Chelsea Kingston, Sports Editor

The girls’ varsity basketball team had a very successful season. The team went in 11-1 to capture the Conference A-III title. This was the 9th conference title in Coach Bujacich’s long-coaching career here at Wantagh. Not only did the team work hard on the court, but off the court as well. Julianna Kissane, Caitlin Albanese and Julia Wilkinson are part of the All-State academic team. This means that all the players on the team have a 90 or above average and a honorable mention of All County or All-County Honors.

The team then made a strong playoff run from the No. 7 seed. They took out South Side 67-50 behind Caitlin Albanese’s 25 points, Julianna Kissane’s 19 points and Julia Wilkinson’s 12 points. In the Class A quarterfinals, the Warriors came from behind to defeat Locust Valley 43-40. Albanese led Wantagh with 15 points and eight rebounds. Wilkinson hit a huge 3 to break a tie with under two minutes to go in the game.

However, the run ended in the semis with a loss to North Shore (20-1), the No. 3 seed. Wantagh finished 15-7 overall.
The team had a huge non-league 54-43 win over Plainedge to turn around a slow start in December. Plainedge was one of the better teams in the county.

“We had a very difficult non-league schedule early in the season which helped us to prepare for the conference,” said Coach Bujacich. He was assisted by his former player Erin Colton, who also is a News 12 reporter.

Wantagh upset Division by a score of 49-43. It was favored to win the Conference. Captains Albanese and Kissane scored big to clinch the win. Albanese finished with 20 points, Kissane with 11 points, and Julia Wilkinson with 8 points and 8 rebounds.

The team’s determination grew stronger each day. “Practices are always fun but competitive enough to prepare us for the games,” Angela Labenberg said. As the season went on the Warriors lost two starters, Angela Labenberg and Hannah Dougherty, due to injury. But, they rose to the occasion and beat Floral Park 56-52 on January 13. Playing Floral Park once more on February 7, the Warriors won 53-39 to secure the conference title.

Each player brought talent to the team. Albanese was the leading scorer. She finished the season with an average of 14.5 points per game and scored her career high of 29 points in one game against Division. Kissane reached another all-time record by approaching almost 100 assists for the season. Labenberg, who is a fierce rebounder, averaged around 12 rebounds a game. Brianna Derham contributed with solid defense.

The Nassau County Senior Scholar Athlete Award was won by senior Kelly Podell. All-Conference was won by Angela Labenberg and Megan Lucey. Megan Lucey also won Defensive Player of the Year for their conference. Caitlin Albanese and Julianna Kissane won All-County, with the honorable mention going to Wilkinson.
“This is most definitely one of the hardest working teams we have had over the years,” said Coach Bujacich.