Curtis Jenkins emerged from the locker room after the game wearing shorts, a shooting shirt . . . and a fedora.
"I like wearing it," he said of the hat. "It's a little ugly, but it's a symbol."
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It symbolizes the player who made the biggest contribution to Farmingdale's latest victory. After the Dalers' 66-47 boys basketball win over Freeport Friday, which put them on the cusp of a Nassau Conference AA-I championship, Jenkins was selected as the newest owner of the felt black hat, which is actually made for a woman.
It's called the Daler Derby and after each win, it's awarded to the game MVP, who gets to keep it until the next practice or game.
It looked rather awkward sitting atop the head of a 6-foot small forward but Jenkins did a little of everything to earn the right to wear it. He scored 10 points, grabbed nine rebounds, had seven steals and, ultimately, modeled one hat.
All of Jenkins points, as well as five of his steals, came in a 25-13 second quarter as Farmingdale opened a 20-point lead. Midway through the quarter, Jenkins intercepted a pass and raced down court for a two-handed dunk. Seconds later, he stole the ball again at midcourt and converted a layup in transition.
"I realized that my team needed a lift," Jenkins said. "The separation wasn't enough, so I had to do what I could."
Kevin Petit-Frere had 17 points, including a season-high four three-pointers. With the shot clock winding down midway through the third quarter, Petit-Frere drained a three from deep beyond the arc on the left wing to give Farmingdale a 45-24 lead.
"I know I've always been a shooter, but this game I was just knocking them down," he said. "We were coming off a tough loss, so we really wanted to get this win."
Kyhiem Chaplin scored nine of his 13 points in the third quarter for Freeport (7-3). Joshua Chester added nine points, all of which came in the fourth.
Dalique Mingo had 17 points as Farmingdale (8-1) moved within one win of capturing its first outright conference title since the 2002-03 season.
"Of course the big goal is at the end," Farmingdale coach Jim Pastier said. "But if we can win this conference, these guys will get a plaque and a banner up on the wall and it'll hang there forever. It's a great accomplishment."
As is wearing that ugly Daler Derby.