Basketball teams, whether on the high school, college, or professional level have a revolving door at each end of the court. Every year new players come and established players go. Mineola's Lady Mustang varsity basketball team is no exception. However, the Lady Mustang's off-season loss was a bit unique. While the team saw only one senior graduate, it also saw an eighth grader, with impressive potential, leave and move on to new opportunities. While these players, who combined for an average of 21 points per game last season, passed through and out the revolving door, four fresh faces walked in through the revolving door, ready and willing to make their mark on this team. Starting out slowly, the Lady Mustangs finished their non-league portion of their season with 1 win and 3 losses. Here's how they did it.
Opening the season at home versus Herricks HS, the Lady Mustangs started off on the right foot with a impressive 59-43 win. Led by Liz Terezo with 18 points (10 of which were scored in the fourth quarter), sophmore Samantha Hegmann with 16 points (8 of which were scored in the third quarter) and Liz Sanderleaf with 8 points, the Lady Mustangs combined stingy fourth quarter defense (allowing only 8 points) with a strong offense (22 points scored) to turn a third quarter 37-35 lead into a 16 point rout. Herricks, to their credit, kept the game close until the third quarter on the hot shooting of their point guard who connected with 7 three pointers.
Following an annual tradition, the Lady Mustangs next traveled to Great Neck North HS to participate in the GNN Holiday Tournament. Facing East Meadow in the opening round, the Lady Mustang offense cooled off from their opening game, scoring as little as five points in the third quarter, en route to a 38-30 loss. Mineola kept the game close with their defensive effort, but could not put together a strong fourth quarter to take the game back. Liz Terezo led the Lady Mustang offense with 12 points, followed by Sam Hegmann with 10 points and Liz Sanderleaf and Caitlin Orlando with 4 points each in a losing effort.
With their opening round loss, the Lady Mustangs faced Great Neck North in the consolation round. Once again, Mineola's offense had trouble getting started as they quickly fell behind to GNN 23-11 at the half. GNN, led by their point guard (26 points) kept up the offensive and defensive pressure in the second half to build their lead to 19 points, as they won going away, 50-31. Liz Terezo led the Lady Mustang offense with 17 points in a losing effort.
Looking to put their tournament nightmare behind them, the Lady Mustangs took to the road to Face North Shore HS. Mineola, opening the game with a pressing defense and a hot shooting hand played their best offensive first quarter of the season (14 points). However, fifteen Mineola turnovers over the first half neutralized that effort as NS took an 8 point lead into the half at 30-22. Opening the second half, the Lady Mustangs defense could not stop North Shore's offense which opened a 18 point lead to win going away 59-41. Once again, the Lady Mustangs were victimized by an opponent's point guard, this time for 27 points. Liz Terezo led the Lady Mustang offense with 15 points, followed by Sam Hegmann with 14 points and Caitlin Orlando with 10 points in a losing effort.
Desperately needing a win, the Lady Mustangs came home to face Bellmore-JFK. In a game which saw each team's offense and defense play hide and seek for the first three quarters, the Lady Mustangs pulled away to a 16-2 lead at the end of the first quarter, scored only 4 points in the second to hold their lead 20-15 at the half, and scored only 7 points to lead 27-19 at the end of the third quarter. Looking to protect their lead, the Lady Mustang offense and defense went into hiding as they committed 10 turnovers, missed free-throws and numerous scoring opportunities in the paint as Bellmore- JFK came from behind to score 18 points in the fourth quarter and win, 37-34. Liz Terezo led the Lady Mustang offense with 13 points, followed by Caitlin Orlando with 7 points and Sam Hegmann, Roseann Mercurio and Christine Medlock with 4 points each in a losing effort.
Getting no respite from their schedule, the Lady Mustangs came back home to face a powerful Oceanside team. True to their billing, Oceanside held Mineola to just 4 points in the first half as they jumped out to a 26-4 lead at the half. In a forgettable second half, the Lady Mustangs could only play Oceanside evenly as they would fall to Oceanside 44-24. Sam Hegmann led the Lady Mustang offense with 7 points, followed by Liz Terezo with 6 points and Christine Medlock with 4 points in a losing effort.
With the non-league portion of the schedule over, and their record at 1 win and 3 losses, the Lady Mustangs have their work cut out for them if they are to have any semblance of a winning record, or even a shot at the playoffs. In their four games played to date, their defensive has given up nearly 46 points per game while scoring only 40 points. Offensively, the team has outscored their opponents in only five of the sixteen quarters they have played. In the first half, the Lady Mustangs scored an average of only 17 points per game while allowing 24 points. This consistently puts them in the difficult position of playing from behind, and in many cases, is their margin of defeat. With the league game portion of the schedule ahead of them, facing the likes of Roosevelt, Clarke, Seaford and Island Trees, the Lady Mustangs will need to significantly reduce their number of turnovers and missed shots in the paint which plagued their non-league season. To their credit, these girls continue to play hard, continue to focus on improving on their strengths and reducing their turnovers, and support and cheer each other on - key ingredients for turning their season around.