Not many people could match Olivia Daddona when it comes to school spirit. When she was a Southold High School student, she was a member of various school sports teams and organizations. The fact that she graduated last year hasn’t prevented her from continuing to serve her school.
Daddona, who is studying early childhood education at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead, remained the Southold boys basketball team manager and scorekeeper this season, and was at her post Tuesday at the scorer’s table for the Long Island Class C final.
“I’m doing this is for the love and support of the Southold community,” Daddona said before Southold’s 72-65 loss to East Rockaway at Centereach High School. “I definitely get a lot of stares that seem a little worried that I’m back here because people are like, ‘Why is she back?’ But it does make me feel a lot prouder because I’m seeing these boys grow up. Last year they didn’t get as far, and this year, look where they are. It’s March 10th and we are playing at Centereach High School.”
Daddona said she’s accustomed to parents approaching her after games and asking her how many points their sons scored.
What’s important as a team manager/scorekeeper?
“Definitely have a good connection with the coach or else that’s a bad thing,” she said. “Stay focused during the whole game. No phones. No phones at all, and making sure I get every single point in the book.”
Daddona said this was her third season as the team manager.
“I actually really enjoy it,” she said. “I guess I’m just the most motivated [alumnus].”
Russell gets minutes
Steven Russell sat out more games than he played this season because of lingering hamstring problems that can be traced to Southold’s season opener. So, it was a good sign when Russell was seen carrying his athletic bag into the team’s locker room Tuesday in Centereach. The First Settlers were hoping the senior small forward would be able to play in the Long Island final.
“We’re going to give him a try,” coach Lucas Grigonis said before the game. “He’s looked good in practice. Every day is different with him because of the hamstring, but we’re confident that he can be a part of this, so we’re going to give him a go.
“We’ve had it in [our] mindset for a week now that we want him to be a part of this tonight, and whatever he can give us, whether it’s two minutes, if it’s five minutes, we think he can contribute tonight.”
When Russell came off the bench, entering the game as a substitute for John Kaelin with 2 minutes, 56 seconds left in the second quarter, he received hearty applause from Southold fans who know what he has gone through. Russell also started the third quarter and played about six minutes total. He scored one point from a free throw and had two offensive rebounds.
Russell said he felt good, but wished he had played more. He said, “To be on the sideline for pretty much the whole game is tough, but obviously that’s not a dis to my coaches, it’s just, you know, a tough pill to swallow.”
Nick, Nick, Nick and Nick
Southold has four Nicks on its roster, and they all started in the Long Island final. Nick Carr, Nick DeNicola, Nick Eckhardt and Nick Grathwohl were in the starting five along with Cole Brigham. Is it confusing having that many players with the same first name? Said Lucas Grigonis, “We do have nicknames for them.”