GREENLAWN, New York, Dec. 11
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
Last season, the Lady Tornadoes of the Harborfields High School girls basketball team went out in style. After claiming the Class A Suffolk County championship with a win over Elwood John H. Glenn High School, the Lady Tornadoes battled with three straight wins that earned them a Long Island championship and a spot in the state tournament.
But every battle has its casualties – or in this case, graduates.
“We lost two key players that are now playing in college,” Head Coach Russ Tietjen said. “To lose two players of that caliber, it’s hard to replace.”
The first, Kristen Kelly – now a student at the New York Institute of Technology – started her basketball journey at the college level on Nov. 14. She’s since been averaging 3.4 points/game.
The second, Toni Deren – now studying at Post University in Waterbury, Conn. – began that same day and has averaged 3.9 points/game through seven contests.
Both were key contributors to the Harborfields squad last year, but now Tietjen and his girls are looking to reload and work their way to another championship.
“The goal is still to be very competitive and compete,” he said.
In order to do just that, Tietjen is hopeful that the pieces the Lady Tornadoes were able to retain will step up and grow into their, perhaps, more expanded roles.
First, it starts with Allie Tunick, Tietjen said, one of the Lady Tornadoes’ starting guards.
“She has to lead us offensively, play great defense and be a scorer,” he said.
Next up is Donasja Scott, a key contributor to last year’s team – she led the Lady Tornadoes in both scoring and rebounding – who will asked to just as “tenacious on both sides of the ball” by Tietjen this season.
Christiana de Borja and Alex Werbitsky also return to this year’s team. De Borja, the Lady Tornadoes’ starting point guard, must run Harborfields’ offense, he said, and Werbitsky will be asked to make the tough rebounds while playing stout defense.
This year’s battle started for Harborfields on Dec. 6 with a 49-30 setback against, what Tietjen said, is a “very good” Commack team. Next, the girls played Smithtown West on Wednesday after press time in their first non-league contest of the season – they bounced back with a convincing 73-28 victory.
Today, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m., the Lady Tornadoes will travel to Cold Spring Harbor where Tietjen said he hopes they’ll “play better, more as a team and under more control.”
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander
(Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014; A44)