Farmingdale's lead was slipping away.
Its best player, Curtis Jenkins, was bolted to the bench after picking up his fourth foul, and the Dalers hadn't scored a basket in three minutes. The crowd had started to make its presence felt, strongly supporting the home team, Massapequa.
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And it was all happening in the fourth quarter.
Malik Seelal, however, was unruffled. The senior scored seven pivotal points in the fourth quarter and finished with 19 to lead Farmingdale to a 61-48 victory Friday in a Nassau Conference AA-I game.
"I knew I just had to stay composed out there," Seelal said. "Curtis is a big part of this team, so without him, it was important for someone to do well. I'm a senior, so I know I have to play a bigger role for this team at times."
Massapequa (4-5), which was desperate for a win to remain in the playoff hunt, cut the deficit to five (at 46-41) with about five minutes left, but Seelal scored four points and then took a charge that swayed momentum. First-place Farmingdale (8-1) finished with a 15-7 run.
"Malik knew he was the next guy up," coach Jim Pastier said. "Every game, Malik is coming along, and that's why our team is coming around big this season."
Alex Consenza had 12 points for Massapequa, which opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run before Seelal halted any further thoughts of a comeback.
Farmingdale led the rest of the way after the opening minutes of the first quarter. Jack Burke, who scored eight points, provided the highlight-reel play of the day when he nailed a shot from halfcourt just as the halftime buzzer sounded to give Farmingdale its first double-figure lead, 31-20.
"It was pretty big and it gave us some momentum," Burke said. "I normally shoot from that range in practice, but with the clock winding down in the game, it was a little bit more exciting."
Jenkins, who re-entered with about three minutes left, finished with 10 points. While on the bench, he admired the play of Seelal, his friend since grade school.
"Malik played great and was clutch. He showed what I always know he has in him," said Jenkins, who added the two have a friendly competitiveness between them. "Every time we play, we try to outdo one another in a way and today, he certainly had the edge."