Jackets bidistrict champs
Mineola took a bi-district title Monday with 32 minutes of strong man-to-man defense. The shuffling feet and inside positioning of the Yellowjackets stymied the New Boston Lions at almost every turn, …
Jackets bidistrict champs
Mineola took a bi-district title Monday with 32 minutes of strong man-to-man defense. The shuffling feet and inside positioning of the Yellowjackets stymied the New Boston Lions at almost every turn, and churned out a 52-35 win.
Early in the first quarter, the effect of Mineola’s suffocating man-to-man was evident among the Lions. Unable to gain that critical first step on their defending Jacket counterparts, the Lions began to lead with their elbows, in an effort to clear a path to the basket.
Throughout the game, New Boston tried a number of different offensive sets – emptying zones, flooding zones – but there was no room to breathe.
Coincident to that well-played defense came the majority of the defensive rebounds.
On the offensive glass, as well, Mineola dominated by rebounding with controlled aggression.
The first quarter was a tightly-played affair, with each team taking their measure of the contest.
Keke Martin got the Jackets on the board with a mid-range baseline jumper.
Dawson Pendergrass and TJ Moreland each added a score, and Isaiah Gardner hit a free throw to take a 7-5 lead after one quarter of play.
Moreland took over the game in the first three minutes of the second quarter. He fired in two 3-pointers and two mid-range jumpers to boost Mineola’s lead to 17-7.
The Jackets used intense physicality to take a 22-17 edge into halftime.
That physical effort was clear in three moments throughout the game.
Just before halftime, Zay Lipscomb sprinted from half court to leap out of bounds under the basket and save a possession for the Jackets. Moments before, Moreland had raced back the length of the floor to block a breakaway lay-in by the Lions. On two separate occasions, Isaiah Gardner’s hustle preserved possessions and buoyed the Jackets’ momentum.
New Boston shifted from their 2-3 zone to a man-to-man to start the second half. Mineola made they pay dearly for that change, as the Jackets drove repeatedly to the basket.
The Jackets began to wear down the Lions inside and built a 39-26 lead after three quarters.
Mineola kept the pressure on with remarkable consistency. There were no lapses of performance. The team was focused and shook off the periodic turnovers which occur throughout the game.
Two sequences highlighted the second half of action. A nice combination play from Martin to Pendergrass and back out to Ainsley Steward for a short jumper was well-executed.
When the outcome was yet in question, Gardner pulled down an offensive rebound and pivoted thrice under the basket to generate enough space to put up his shot.
He placed it high up on the glass to avert the Lion’s inside defender. It was a key basket.
Moreland led Mineola’s scoring with 22 points. Pendergrass followed with 15. Martin contributed 8, Gardner 3 and Braydon Alley and Lipscomb each added a bucket.
Mineola’s initial 2023 playoff action demonstrated that the team has a ‘all business’ attitude and is capable of the disciplined defense necessary in post-season action.
Next up is the winner of Tuesday’s Tatum-Sabine match up later this week.