There are all sorts of categories of “sixth men” on the court of a basketball game.
While the role usually goes to the best player off the bench, starters often have a tendency to assign the moniker to anything resembling a good luck charm to a little person or the Allmighty Himself.
Then there’s the other category.
The one of the ethereal, where they hang a jersey in an empty locker for a fallen comrade. The one where they say they’re there “in spirit.”
That’s the one that happens to falls into for Mineola.
Mike Wasychuk was a freshman when Hylton passed away May 19, 2010 due to a cardiac arrhythmia, not having the opportunity to know the multi-sport athlete, who was a year older.
“From what I see, Matt was one of the coolest kids in the school and people loved him,” the Mineola guard said.
The thing is though, Hylton didn’t even play on the hardwood – preferring football and lacrosse.
Many of the members of the Class of 2012 can recall Hylton fondly, having gone to elementary school at with him.
Matt Moro was perhaps the one who knew him best though.
“We wanted to do something to remember him by and to keep his memory going and give him something of a legacy so not just us would remember him but everybody would at Mineola,” the Mustang forward said.
Hylton’s family has created a scholarship fund, which will hand out three $1,000 awards to graduating seniors this year for the first time. The scholarships will be awarded based on a narrative personal essay as well as the senior’s SAT scores and background.
Hylton’s mother has made it the mission of the fund to promote awareness of sudden cardiac arrhythmia, of which the family was unaware affected Matt, and to promote heart screenings.
“They’re very quite dear to us,” Hylton’s mother, Junienne said. “Just their support… and just their presence has been phenomenal.”
They also knew the cameras would be there that night, especially after having won a MSG Varsity contest that awarded the school with a new TV, Blu-ray player and speaker equipment, putting on a offensive tour de force Thursday night spearheaded by Wasychuk’s 22 points to lead the Mustangs 68-52 over Sewanhaka.
“Last week was a real tough week,” Moro said. “We played a couple good teams. We didn’t come out the way we wanted to in those games. When we’ve lost our problem has been coming out slow. We really stressed coming out in the first half and trying to take the lead early.”
As if 18-6 in the first wasn’t fast enough over the Indians.
After a pair of losses to and last week, Wasychuk had come in over the Christmas break an hour before practice taking some private shooting time.
“He worked really hard this week,” Mineola head coach Jim Hegmann said.
“We came out with a lot of fire and passion tonight,” Moro said.
For the cameras. And for his friend.1 2 3 4 F Sewanhaka 6 13 13 20 52 Mineola 18 17 20 3 68
Mineola Scoring Statistics Player Position Shots FGs 3PTs FTs Points Mike Waszczuk Guard 10 5 4 0 22 Malcolm Brown Guard 9 4 2 3 17 Thomas Breslin Forward 5 5 0 0 10 Brian Gaffney Guard 6 4 0 0 8 Matt Moro Forward 3 1 0 1 3 Dominick DeRosa 1 1 0 0 2 Robert Dwyer 1 1 0 0 2 Cyriac Jacob 1 1 0 0 2 Bobby Rogers 1 1 0 0 2