This was not the way the Mineola basketball squad had wanted to start their season.
The Mustangs were looking like a team ready to put towels on their heads Thursday night, facing a Garden City team that was dragging them up and down the court for a full 16 minutes and making shots that were garnering more metal and glass than knot and nylon, turning the into a varsity pinball machine.
“The intensity wasn’t there the first half and it was there the second half,” Mineola coach Jim Hegmann said. “We talked about how they were just out-hustling us, that’s all it was; just out hustled.”
Held to a meager 4 points in the second quarter – four! – and with Garden City on their way to a rebound total of 50, Mineola needed something – anything really – to spark their offence from resembling the seized Pinto out on the court.
“We weren’t scoring the ball,” Hegmann said. “It’s and they have to learn how to take the shots, it’s all about shot selections.”
What they needed was something resembling a miracle.
What they had was Malcolm Brown.
What they got was a career-high 21-point performance from the junior guard, sparking the Mustangs on a run that would close the gap from 15 points at the half to as close as two with time evaporating on the clock and turing what would have been a trouncing into a respectable 44-41 contest, despite the Mustangs getting the short end of the stick.
“Coach wanted us to get the steal in,” Brown said after the game. “I like to jump and get them off balance so I tipped it… and I just parlayed it up to the basket.”
In a game that featured 24 turnovers, Brown and the Mustangs had Garden City running into the brink of oblivion.
”He did some really nice things attacking the basket, coming out aggressive, which we need,” Hegmann said of Brown. “Just got to be smart with the ball as he goes throughout the game.”
Smart like who you end up stealing from, like the swipe off of Trojan Devin Dwyer, whose shot late in the fourth ended up being the differencemaker in the game and the only points he would score that night.
“I just threw it up there 0-2 and it went in,” the Garden City junior said.1 2 3 4 F Mineola 9 4 14 14 41 Garden City 14 14 9 7 44
Mineola Scoring Statistics Player Position FGs 3PTs FTs Points Malcolm Brown Guard 5 3 2 21 Mike Waszczuk Guard 5 1 0 13 Brian Gaffney Guard 3 0 0 6 Matt Moro Forward 0 0 1 1