It took the efforts of two different players coming up in two separate halves to give Mineola a 62-47 victory over Seaford this past Friday, clinching a home playoff game in the process.
What it took were the combination of Mike Waszczuk and Malcolm Brown.
During the off-season the two juniors opted to continue playing in summer league with the Long Island Lighting.
“We were like ‘let’s keep playing to get team chemistry going for the season’,” Waszczuk said. “It’s working.”
In the first half of Friday night’s game, Waszczuk had rattled off 19 points against the Vikings including draining a pair of threes from the outside corners to start the game before they finally started to figure the Mustang guard out.
“They really keyed on Michael in the second half so other guys had to step up,” Mineola head coach Jim Hegmann said, a bit sly when asked if the Mustang’s plan was to simply get the ball to Waszczuk.
“He’s a good player, we want to get it to a good shooter and what happens is when he gets locked down like that, you’ve got to share the ball with the other players and the other players can score.”
With his fellow guard effectively neutralized – scoring only 4 points in the second half, all in the fourth, the door opened for Brown following a pass that almost went awry.
“I just told my team during the time to step up,” Waszczuk would say later. “Malcolm just did his thing.”
That thing included being there to nab a backhanded swipe bounce-pass from behind the back of Mineola guard Brian Gaffney, who swooped in with inches to space to keep the ball from going out of bounds, saving a turnover and possibly the game.
Down the court was –who else? – Waszczuk. A heave from one junior to another, an easy layup and a fourth-quarter rally was sparked in the process.
“They’re like brothers,” Hegmann said. “I didn’t plan that; it’s just total hustle, that’s what it is. They work hard and they hustle and Brian’s a great athlete, he did that, he blocked that shot and they played great.”
Said Gaffney after the game: “I was just trying to hustle and keep it alive, keep my team in it.”
He managed to do more as the Mustangs went on a 17-3 romp following that basket including a Brown draining another three from center for good measure.
“(Brown) did a great job stepping up, Gaffney did a great job stepping up,” Hegmann said, “that’s what you need to do to win.”1 2 3 4 F Seaford 9 7 14 7 47 Mineola 12 18 9 23 62
Mineola Scoring Statistics Player Position Shots FGs 3PTs FTs Points Mike Waszczuk Guard 17 4 3 6 23 Malcolm Brown Guard 7 3 2 2 14 Brian Gaffney Guard 5 2 1 2 9 Thomas Breslin Forward 7 6 0 0 12 Matt Moro Forward 1 1 0 0 2 Bobby Rogers Forward 1 1 0 0 2
Seaford Scoring Statistics Player Shots FGs 3PTs FTs Points James Curley 10 5 5 0 25 Richard DiPuma 8 4 0 3 11 Kyle Kolodinsky 4 1 1 1 6 Jim Roell 1 0 1 0 3 Brian Graziose 1 1 0 0 2