By Michayla Rinaldi
During the 2002-2003 season, the Lady Gladiators took the girls basketball Class B New York State Championship home to NHP. Led by Coach McKeough, the team of varsity players was able to secure the title after many challenging games against competitive opponents.
On December 30, the 2003 NYS Championship team was invited back to NHP to celebrate this incredible accomplishment and the 20-year anniversary of their win.
“That season was fun, and it was definitely surreal because not a lot of teams get to have that opportunity. There was a lot of excitement, not just from the team but from the entire school since we had a very strong fan base. To see all of the players again gave me very mixed emotions, but it was great to see the women they’ve become. It was all a very rewarding and proud feeling,” Ms. McKeough said.
The victorious team was honored with a ceremony during halftime of a non-league game played by NHP’s current girls varsity basketball team against the Herricks Highlanders.
“During halftime of that game, our team along with Coach Bello honored the Championship team with an announcement and a plaque. Along with this, we got a great win against Herricks. To wrap up the day, Coach Bello reserved the Elks Lodge, where we got a chance to meet and talk to all of the players. It was a really cool experience seeing how they all remember their days at NHP and playing basketball,” freshman Breanne Noguera said.
Source from Mr. Patrick Maguire
The 2003 NYS Championship team is honored with roses and a plaque during halftime.
The celebration of not only the 2003 State Champions, but of all NHP girl basketball alums continued. On Sunday, December 31, a scrimmage took place, bringing all of the NHP girls basketball players together. The organization of this event can be largely credited to the hard work and dedication of Coach McKeough and Coach Bello, the former and current girls varsity basketball coaches at NHP.
“It was a really cool event that was able to happen. Coach McKeough was still connected to many of those alums who won the championship in 2003, and Coach Bello reached out to everyone he’s coached in the past few years. From there, it was just word-of-mouth to get as many people involved as possible,” athletic director Mr. Maguire said.
“The scrimmage and entire weekend overall was an incredible success. I loved seeing the 2003 winning team because NHP isn’t a school known for sports the way other schools in Nassau County are, so proof that NHP can and has won state championships was really inspiring,” junior Alexa Stec said.
So far, the current girls varsity basketball team has a record of 11-9. The team has made great progress throughout the season and has gone on to win against some tough opponents. After meeting with NHP alumni, the girls were motivated to work hard, resulting in a win against Great Neck South in their game on February 1. Despite the bumpy start to the season, the team has made playoffs for the second year in a row.
Source from Areej Zaidi
The girls varsity basketball team poses for a team photo; Ava Orbon scans the court to make a pass.