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New Hyde Park Hosts First Girls Varsity Basketball Game in 10 Years

By Arjit Nair

On February 16, 2024, the New Hyde Park Gladiators hosted their first girls varsity basketball playoff game in over a decade. After compiling a 13-7 overall record and an 11-3 Conference AA-2 record, the Lady Gladiators earned the 5th seed and were set to take on the 12th seed Bethpage Lady Golden Eagles in the first round of the Section VIII Class AA playoffs. 

Source by Linda Cheung

Junior Ava Orbon and senior Julia K. Lopez shoot free throws following a foul.

The significance of NHP’s first girls varsity basketball playoff game in over 10 years is self-evident to many students and parents, and represents each player’s accomplishments throughout the season as a result of hard work and a robust girls varsity basketball program.

“I think it’s a big accomplishment, not only for the team, but for the school, to have an excellent basketball sports program,” NHP parent Mr. Noguera said.

NHP fans described the game as a back-and-forth battle on the court. Both the Lady Gladiators and the Lady Golden Eagles exchanged shots until Bethpage closed the gap to within a point with a few seconds remaining.

Source by Linda Cheung

Fans from New Hyde Park's student section react to a play made on court.

“At a home game, definitely, you have the students section and we’re all going crazy,” senior Matthew Muntzenberger said. “We make a shot, it really just boosts team morale. I feel like it also takes a bit of a negative effect on the opponent, so anything to help our team. This game is really important.”

“That was one of the most thrilling basketball games I have watched,” senior Jayden Patel said. “It was back and forth the entire time and each team was hitting highly contested shots. It’s sad to see the season end like that, but we [NHP] put up an incredible fight. The team should be very proud of the season they had.”

Source by Linda Cheung

The New Hyde Park girls varsity basketball team graduates four seniors: Julia Lopez, Ava Delisse, Lauren LoCascio and Alexandra Stec. 

“This was a very tight knit team that grew close and had one of the best conference seasons in over a decade,” girls varsity basketball coach Michael Bello said. “The team finished the regular season 13-7, earning the 5th seed and home playoff game. The girls battled through a tough playoff game, losing on a late shot. Our four seniors are all such a huge part of our family and will be missed. All of them gave their heart and soul for their teammates and the program.”

“This year our team had a great dynamic," girls varsity basketball captain Alexandra Stec said. ”Since we didn't have any seniors leave last year it was the exact same team that we played with the previous year. This helped us start off the year already with a great chemistry amongst the starters. Coach Bello had to change his coaching style to adapt to all of us the best but that helped our dynamic even more. I'm so happy to have been Coach Bello's captain these past 2 years and whenever he needed to do something for the team, I would help him without question.”

Source by Linda Cheung

Coach Bello speaks to the Lady Gladiators during a time-out.

New Hyde Park players received several awards: junior Ava Orbon received All County recognition, sophomore Maeve Downing received All County recognition, senior Julia Lopez received All Conference recognition, senior Alexandra Stec received All Classification and Scholar-Athlete recognition, and sophomore Breanne Noguera received All Classification recognition. 

Source by Linda Cheung

Sophomores Maeve Downing and Breanne Noguera dribble the ball to the opposing team's court.

The Lady Gladiators concluded their season with a 13-8 overall record and look forward to the 2025 winter season. 


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