Written by Gary Simeone Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:00
More than 200 hundred people turned out for Reggie Carter Memorial Basketball Night on Friday, Jan. 24 at Mineola High School to see if the Mustangs could break its 13 game winless streak. The team did not disappoint their home crowd, playing inspired basketball to earn their first victory of the season over a turnover-prone Clarke High School, 44-37.
“I was getting a little nervous there for a while thinking we might not win a game all season,” said Mineola head coach, Jim Hegmann. “Our overall team effort team effort was very good tonight and I thought our defense played the best they had all year.”
The Mustang defense forced Clarke into multiple turnovers, which helped Mineola take their first halftime lead of the season, 25-16. The offense was also red hot with good shooting performances by senior guards, Justin Oomen and Gabe Echeverry. Junior forward,
Steve Gessner returned from an injury to help lead the team with four big free-throws in the final minutes of the game to help seal the victory.
After a stellar season in 2012-13, the Mustangs got off to a rough start this year losing their first thirteen games and falling to the bottom of Conference A-4. The main reason for the free fall was because the team lost the majority of their scoring production in graduating seniors, Malcolm Brown, Mike Waszychuk and Brian Gaffney.
“They were our main guys on offense, pretty much eighty percent of our scoring,” said Hegmann. “This season has been a big transition year as a lot of our players are not used to starting roles and we’ve added some young kids up from the JV team.”
The youth and inexperience showed early on as the Mustangs were blown out in home games to West Hempstead and Sewanhaka in December. Things didn’t get any better in early January as Roosevelt and Cold Spring Harbor beat Mineola by a combined 64 points.
But Friday night, in front of a strong home crowd, the Mustangs looked like a different team playing solid, energized basketball to propel themselves to victory over a Clark team who is also having a down season.
“I’m not sure if it was because of Reggie Carter Night or the support of our home crowd, but we played really good basketball tonight,” said Hegmann. “I hope we continue with this type of performance in our last few games of the season.”
Mineola’s next game will be at Roosevelt High School on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 4:30 p.m.