Written by Vinny Messana Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00
Sometimes having a passionate fan base can affect the home team. The Farmingdale Dalers admitted the volume and intensity of the crowd at the game against Calhoun “forced them to rush their shots” in the first quarter, according to Dan McKeon.
Fortunately for the home crowd, the Dalers were able to relax and overcome an 11-point deficit against their opponent to advance to the Nassau County quarterfinals with a 47-38 victory.
While the Dalers would strike first to put up an early 2-0 lead, the squad’s scoring chances were quickly stifled by the Colts’ defense—scoring only one more basket in the first quarter of the game.
“Our shots weren’t falling at first,” said McKeon.
At the end of the first quarter, it appeared Calhoun had put a scare into the Dalers with a 15-4 lead.
“We spoke before the game about playing the game, not playing to the crowd,” said Head Coach Jim Pastier. “A home crowd like this, place is packed, there’s electricity in the air, the players were too amped up,” he added.
From that point on, the script flipped completely.
The Dalers outscored the Colts 18-8 in the second quarter, which was really crucial for the team. Farmingdale began playing with more continuity on offense and were making the baskets that they were supposed to. Malik Seelal, Ron Winkler and Dallas Creamer all contributed on both ends and it took the pressure off Jenkins, who did not need to force difficult shots. The Dalers went into halftime down only one point, 23-22.
The Colts played a little tight in the third quarter, only managing to score six points. This was not just attributed to poor offensive execution, but also tremendous defense on the part of the Dalers.
“We know we can play defense,” said Pastier. “We take pride in our defense. That’s the backbone to the team,” he added.
The interior defense of Wrinkler and Creamer was a key to limiting the Colts. But, it did not hurt that they have athletes like Jenkins and Burke who are strong defending the perimeter. Farmingdale’s Curtis Jenkins also led the team with 17 points, putting up eight rebounds in the game.
The Dalers briefly lost their focus in the final quarter, as Calhoun’s Eric Ohlendorf gave the Colts the lead, with 5:26 remaining in the game, on a difficult layup.
Perhaps most crucial to the Dalers victory, was the clutch shooting of McKeon, who spurred a comeback by putting up a three-point field goal with three minutes remaining to put the Dalers ahead 37-35.
After a couple of possessions had gone by the wayside, McKeon grabbed a pass and chucked up the long-range attempt. It was perfect and the crowd was launched into a frenzy. The Colts were never able to recover. Just a couple of free throw attempts separated the Dalers from the victory and Jenkins nailed them to put the game out of reach.
“We have the utmost confidence in ourselves,” said McKeon. “We know we can play with anybody.”
The Dalers will advance to the semifinals next Wednesday at Old Westbury College, against either Baldwin or Freeport.