Written by Vinny Messana Thursday, 16 January 2014 00:00
Having graduated nine of their seniors from a strong 2012-13 season, it was understood that this season would feature its share of trials and tribulations for the Mineola Mustangs Boys Basketball team. From that perspective, the team should not be discouraged by their 68-34 defeat at the hands of a very potent Roosevelt Roughriders team.
“We’re young,” said Mineola head coach Jim Heggman. “We only have four seniors and two of them are hurt,” he added.
With that being the case, it is easy to understand a group of inexperienced players being able to stand toe-to-toe with a team that features Roosevelt players such as Jordan Armstrong, Terrel Canty and Dante Dobson, among others.
For the visiting Roughriders, Armstrong scored a game-high 15 points. Canty added a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds, many of which created second-chance opportunities.
Yusuf Young also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Kyle Moore also scored in double figures, adding 10 points of his own.
Even with the 34 point victory, Roosevelt head coach Alvin Woods felt his team left a lot of points on the court. “We’re not consistent yet,” he said. “You have to be consistent going into the playoffs in order to be competitive or else you’re out,” he added. The team was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round each of the past two seasons, and they hope to improve upon that.
From the looks of it, they should have a chance to play with any team in the county. The Roughriders played with incredible tenacity on defense throughout the game, even with a 40-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
“We like to bring pressure on defense,” Woods said. “We like running. We see which team’s players are in shape and who are not in shape. That’s where the advantage is or the disadvantages if they are in shape.”.
The Mustangs were held to 10 points in the first half, in large part due to the many turnovers that were caused by the three man full-court press of the Roughriders, which led to many fast break points. To their credit, they did not stop hustling. In fact, they improved as the game went on which was the bright spot for the team.
They scored 34 points in the second half. Justin Oomen led the team with 11 points and Eric Guardado scored seven. They both did a tremendous job of not allowing the team to quit, often hustling after loose balls and playing tough defense.
Brian Gonzalez played strong defense and did a great job of boxing out, despite having a disadvantage in height.
The Roughriders were just too quick and strong to be held down for long. Now they are gunning for West Hempstead.
“That’s a team we’re preparing for because they beat us by 19 points last December.” Things could be different this time around, Gonzalez hopes. “They need to come to our home court this time around so come the 24th of January we’ll be ready for them.”
The Roughriders improve to 3-1, while the Mustangs drop to 0-4 in league play.