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Fast start spurs Seaford over L.B.

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An electric home court environment fueled the Seaford girls’ basketball team in its playoff opener against Long Beach.

With a rowdy student section cheering it on, Seaford scored the game’s first 16 points en route to a 60-42 win against 19th-seeded Long Beach in the first round of the Class A playoffs last Friday. The convincing victory propelled by the fast start moves the 14th-seeded Lady Vikings into the second round at Manhasset this Thursday.

“The fans cheering really helped us start the pace and get going,” said sophomore guard Brooke Surace,, who was Seaford’s leading scorer with 19 points. “We always go 100 percent on our home court and it just feels like the most comfortable place to play at and everyone there was helping us along the way.”

Surace scored half of Seaford’s points on the 16-0 start to the game and was also lethal on defense in registering five steals. She helped the Vikings pull away late in the third quarter with two key baskets after Long Beach closed to within 13 part of an 8-0 run to end the period that made it 45-24.

Senior center Jamie McSorley complemented Surace’s shooting touch with a big game inside that featured 16 points and 18 rebounds. Junior point guard Taylor Sylvester recorded 14 points and Parker Surace tallied with Katelyn Winter chipping in four as part of a balanced Viking offense. Seaford head coach Bob Vachris also credited sophomore Jamie Horodecki with contributing to the offensive production through solid passing, rebounding and defensive pressure.

“We’re all friends outside of basketball so that really helps,” said Brooke Surace of the team chemistry on the floor. “We all trust each other.”

Long Beach rebounded from the early 16-0 hole to score the final six points of the quarter, but never was able to claw back to within single digits the rest of the way.  Juniors Lanine Kassap Gia Simbari led the Marines with 14 and 12 points, respectively.  Senior Kai Cheung registered eight points in her final game in a Marine uniform.

The first round playoff loss ended a successful turnaround season that saw the Lady Marines go 8-6 in Conference A-1 after posting just two league wins last year. Long Beach will return plenty of experience next season between Kassap, Simbari, juniors Jasmine Soriano and Jordyn Prince along with freshmen Keira Bauer and Megan Monahan.

“Next year I will have core nucleus,” eighth-year Long Beach head coach Kristin Ciccone said. “I’m excited for next year.”

Seaford (13-6) has shown big year-over-year strides following a four-win 2018-19 season that ended with a 57-47 loss to Clarke in a Nassau County outbracket game. The Lady Vikings will next face a stiff challenge at third-seeded Manhasset, who went unbeaten in Conference A2 and had a first round bye.  Tipoff for the second round matchup is scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m.

“We’ve been working really hard this season,” Surace said. “Last season we didn’t really make it to the playoffs so is a bit accomplishment this year just to be here.”