Less than a month ago the Mineola Yellowjackets overwhelmed the Alba-Golden Panthers with their speed, size, and athleticism to the tune of a 53-34 beating in Mineola. However, a rematch last Tuesday proved to be the complete opposite of what most Mineola fans would have expected as A-G pulled off a huge victory winning 58-46, taking sole possession of third place in district.
Coming in to Tuesday night’s game both teams were preparing for the playoff run. However the game would decide not only who each team would play in the opening playoff round, but also would decide bragging rights.
The anticipation was also heightened with the fact that it was senior night for the Panthers and the A-G seniors did not disappoint as four seniors led the team in scoring.
Early on both teams were trading blows as neither team could create any major scoring separation with Mineola up 14-12 at the end of the first quarter. While both teams proved to be effective early, they both used vastly different strategies as Mineola tried to speed the game up with their full-court press and A-G attempted to slow down the pace with their half-court zone defense.
Mineola was led in the first quarter by forward Kadavion George and center Sean Dennis as the two combined for 10 points in the frame, while A-G’s Shawn Davis and Dawson Kirk combined for eight points.
Early in the second quarter Mineola’s Cameron Sorenson hit a three giving Mineola a 16-19 lead. That score was immediately answered by Kirk who scored a layup on the other end.
However Mineola wasn’t done striking from deep as George followed with a three of his own and Sorenson hit his second three after that, giving them an 18-25 lead.
Later in the quarter Mineola’s Jonah Fischer was fouled on a three and made two of three free throws as Mineola held on to a 22-27 lead.
After succeeding from the outside, Mineola began to get the ball inside as Davion Sneed scored, then on the following possession was fouled on a layup attempt and hit two free throws giving Mineola a 31-22 lead.
The half closed when Panthers senior Mike Hartin scored on a drive plus the foul that cut Mineola’s lead to six at 25-31.
In the first half Mineola controlled the interior defensively with their size, but the game became a clear tale of two halves as A-G’s seniors took over in the second.
Hartin got things started for the Panthers scoring on a running floater, then Davis scored on a pull up jump shot and Dyllon Shuttlesworth finished off their run with a put back as A-G took the lead 32-31.
A-G used a 7-0 run to grab the lead as Mineola was held without scoring the first four minutes of the second half. Davis continued to attack the basket as he scored on a layup plus the foul giving the Panthers a four-point lead after a Mineola timeout.
As Mineola tried to respond Shaw Franklin scored the Jacket’s first basket of the second half at the three-minute mark. But Davis would not be denied as he answered with a deep three-pointer. A-G forward Zane Smith then got in to the action as he grabbed a defensive rebound and drove coast-to-caost for the lay-in giving A-G a 40-34 lead.
Late in the third Fischer knocked down a three cutting the lead to three and then Connor Dobbs scored for Mineola. As both teams tried to keep offensive pace with the other Sorenson got a steal and layup to go before the momentum was ultimately swung in the Panthers favor for good.
With less than 20 seconds left in the third, A-G raced up the court and found Kirk open for a layup but his shot was blocked by George and the ball found Hartin behind the line, he swished a huge three as the buzzer went off sending the Panther crowd into a frenzy. That score gave A-G a 51-45 lead heading in to the fourth.
In the fourth quarter, Smith opened up the scoring for A-G then Kirk got a steal and drove in for a layup giving the Panthers a 51-41 lead. Mineola struggled the remaining seven minutes as they missed countless open perimeter shots as A-G cruised to victory in the final minutes.
A-G was led in scoring by four seniors Shawn Davis led all scorers with a game-high 17 points, Mike Hartin added 15 points, Dyllon Shuttlesworth had 12 points and Dawson Kirk had 7 points while contributing on the glass.
Mineola was led by Cameron Sorenson who had 13 points, Kadvion George scored 12 and had seven rebounds while Sean Dennis added eight.
Both teams qualified for the playoffs but played their games Tuesday after press time. Mineola faced Dallas James Madison, while Alba-Golden faced Sunnyvale.