Written by Vinny Messana, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:58
If the games were played on paper, Massapequa would’ve had no shot. The Chiefs faced a tall order last week playing Elmont, which boasted a 12-3 record and four premier scorers. They gave a tremendous effort, but ultimately had their season cut short, 69-62, despite Alex Cosenza leading the scoring with 29 points.
“I can’t ask for anything else from these guys,” said Head Coach Matt Voigt. “I am so proud of them. I applaud their efforts,”
Cosenza’s performance was truly impressive, as he played every minute of the game and nearly single-handedly put his team on top. Even in a tough atmosphere to play, he was able to find his comfort zone shooting and put on a clinic from the field.
Unfortunately, the Chiefs squandered a relatively large eight-point halftime lead in this game. They were up 34-26 at half and had the Spartans on the ropes, in unfamiliar territory.
I think Massapequa did a great job making us run off their cuts and everything,” said Elmont Head Coach George Holub. “Second half we just put the pressure a little bit higher, changed our pressure points, and it really paid off.”
The Spartans have not been in many close games this year. In fact, they have won seven games by 20 points or more. Teams that win with such ease often find it difficult to face adversity in close affairs. That was not the case today, as their leaders stepped up to score in clutch situations.
Point Guard Tristan Brown was one of the players who really stepped up. He essentially put the game away late in the fourth quarter with two clutch free throws to cushion the lead to six points. He ended with 18 points, but his composure was the most important aspect to this game when it seemed the Chiefs were going to run away after halftime. In total, four Spartans finished in double-digit scoring. Keith Thompkins, another player who was responsible for the comeback, finished with 11 points, Brett Walker joined him with 11, Matthew Graham added 10, as did Chiazam Nwankwo.
Another crucial moment in the game came with 3:08 remaining. With the Spartans clinging to a four-point lead, Brett Walker grabbed an offensive rebound, withstood contact from two defenders and scored the put back basket. Sensing the importance of the basket, the crowd erupted as Walker pumped his fist. He calmly hit the free throw to pad the lead to seven points.
Despite the loss, the Chiefs played a very gritty game against such a strong opponent. In addition to Cosenza’s heroic play, Dylan Balducci played his heart out. He scored 20 points, and fought for every one of them. Balducci displayed impressive shooting range, consistently draining NBA length three-pointers. There was one that stood out in the third quarter that resembled Reggie Miller’s famous Eastern Conference Finals game at Madison Square Garden in 1995.
The Chiefs season ends at 11-9. The Spartans now advance to the semifinals where they will take on Uniondale next at SUNY Old Westbury.