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Young Brooke Leads Lynbrook
Jay Mumford

She’s young. She’s not very big. She doesn’t look the least bit intimidating. But if you’re playing against Lynbrook HS, Brooke Gerstman is someone you should be worried about. The sophomore combo guard can pick your team apart, and chances are good that she’ll be the hungriest player on the floor on any given night.

“Brooke pushes everyone, she even pushes the seniors”, said Lynbrook Head Coach Heather Savignano. “When you have a tenth grader motivating a senior, its huge.” The 5’8 dynamo’s body of work speaks for itself, as she’s led the Lynbrook Owls from a third place tie with South Side in their Nassau ‘A’ Conference to the County finals on Saturday. Armed with the ability to drain it from deep, her just over 15 PPG leads the team, as do her confidence and refusal to lose. “She’s not a cocky kid, but she’s extremely confident, and that’s what makes her successful.”

Young offensive juggernauts usually encounter an imbalance when it comes to strength and defense, and Gerstman is no different. But youth is on her side. “We always talk about how she’s such an offensive player, she’ll have to (focus more on) defense”, Coach Savignano continued. “But she’s only a sophomore, she will get stronger. Once Brooke follows in (her senior back court mate) Shannon Doody’s footsteps, she’ll be unstoppable.” With a busy stint on the AAU circuit and two more years at Lynbrook on the horizon, growth is a given for Gerstman.

“I’ll be playing in tournaments every weekend with Coach
Jon Lawniczak's Long Island Lightning team”, Gerstman said. “I definitely (want to improve) my defense, moving my feet quick. I also want to work on driving to the basket better.”

In the meantime, Gerstman is and has been a heat-seeking missile for the Owls all season long. Her most recent body of work came in the form of a vocal and spirited 17 point outing that led Lynbrook to a 50-29 drubbing of #2 seeded Garden City in the semi-finals. But Lynbrook’s first finals appearance since 1979 won’t be nearly as easy, as a long, athletic and upperclassmen-laden Division team is waiting for their young conference rival. Can a fiery sophomore help lead the Owls to the hardware?

“Division has some of the bigger girls, but we have speed on them”, Gerstman said. “But our team, when we all want it, we’re unbelievable.” Also of note is #1 seeded Division’s full court press, which will surely make a loud appearance in the finals. Their length makes it difficult to pass over it, and their athleticism clogs the passing lanes. Therefore, its a given that a Grade A performance from the young floor general is key for the Owls on Saturday. “We just have to stay low with that ball, those passes have to be quick”.

A big game and a big stage await Gerstman and the youth-infused Owls at CW Post, but one thing they won’t exude is fear. After all, their unwavering confidence and a 1-1 split with Division during regular season play show that the playing field is level, and all ball players lace their sneakers up the same way.

“It’s gonna be a quick, fast paced game, so we have to keep running in practice this week”, Gerstman said. “But we also have to keep our heads in the game.”

Lynbrook faces Division at 2PM at CW Post on Saturday, February 27th (2PM start time).


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