The Roslyn High School boys’ varsity team is headed to the home stretch of the 2014-15 season with a winning record and hopes for a big winning streak that can give them momentum into the playoff season.
This past week, the Bulldogs lost a tough home game to Floral Park, 59-56, before rebounding on Thursday night, defeating Bethpage, 58-43. Steady seniors Noah Nardone and Marc Shulman led the scoring attack with, respectively, 14 and 13 points. Shulman also had seven rebounds.
The Bulldogs took a 14-9 first quarter lead, before falling behind at halftime. However, Roslyn picked up their game in the second game, outscoring Bethpage, 30-13, playing excellent ball on the defensive end where Shulman has been a major plus this year for the Bulldogs.
Head coach Craig Murphy recently took time from his busy schedule to talk about the team and its prospects for the rest of the year.
“We outplayed them,” he said about the loss to Floral Park. “It was a big game, we lost, but we improved. We played good defense.”
This is Murphy’s third year at the helm in Roslyn. It is also the third consecutive year that Roslyn is in a new division, this time Conference A-II. Teams, he said, change divisions on the basis of their current population.
“This year, we are playing teams we haven’t played recently,” Murphy said. That includes such schools as Glen Cove, Bethpage and Division, schools that are similar in population, but also with teams that Roslyn hasn’t seen before.
Outside of the conference, Roslyn has played such powerhouses as Massapequa and Farmingdale, schools with much larger student bodies than Roslyn. Coaches, Murphy said, set the non-conference schedule and maybe it is a good test for Roslyn to play such schools.
The most pleasant surprise for Roslyn this year has been the play of Keandre Augustine, a junior guard who has emerged as an offensive force comparable to such recent stars as George Beamon and Mark Gjonlekaj.
“He’s a special kid,” Murphy said. “He does it all. He’s the lead guard. He passes and shoots well.”
And indeed, Augustine has played with the New York Allstars, an AAU team that gives promising youngsters a chance to hone their basketball skills in the off-season. In 2014, Augustine made the Long Island Basketball Honor Roll and was selected to the Class A All-Tournament team.
But as in any team sport, depth is the key to Roslyn’s success.
“We play 10 guys a game,” Murphy said. “Why? Because we can.”
From that talent pool, the leadership of seniors Noah Nardone, Thomas Davis and Matt Kramer, the team’s three co-captains, plus that of another senior, Marc Shulman has also been instrumental to Roslyn’s winning record. Murphy also cites the play of sophomore Omar Burns for giving the team quality minutes. Nardone was the star of last year’s team, which went through a minor rebuilding phase, and this year, his offensive skills are being nicely complimented by Augustine’s productivity. Murphy also praised Shulman for doing “the dirty work” in the paint on both ends of the court.
Murphy also thinks the remaining schedule works in Roslyn’s favor. Four of the team’s final five games, he noted, are at home, played on friendly terrain in front of supportive fans.
“We can take care of business,” Murphy said, as the coach hopes for another winning streak that will give Roslyn plenty of momentum as the playoff season approaches.