Mark Gjonlekaj's triple-double boosts Roslyn in playoff opener
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Twenty seconds into Friday's game, a malfunctioning shot clock caused a 15-minute stoppage in play. It was simply a delay of the inevitable for Mark Gjonlekaj.
Lately, inevitable means a triple-double for the 6-6 Roslyn center.
Gjonlekaj had 10 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots -- his second consecutive triple-double -- to lead Roslyn to a 52-39 win over host Bethpage in the first round of the Nassau Class A boys basketball playoffs.
"Doing it in back-to-back games is pretty cool, but it's all about the team," he said. "I'd rather have the win than whatever stats I end up with."
He got both Friday.
Early in the fourth, Gjonlekaj missed a baseline jumper, then stormed downcourt and came from behind to block what would have been an easy layup.
While Gjonlekaj helped shut things down on the defensive end, Terrance Pierce provided the spark offensively.
The senior point guard scored 10 of Roslyn's 14 points in the fourth quarter. Pierce stole an inbounds pass under the basket and converted the layup and the foul shot for the first of his two three-point plays during a 12-0 run.
"Being one of the captains on the team, I have to be a leader on the court," Pierce said of stepping up offensively. "This is a team full of seniors who really want this. I believe we are a championship team."
Andrew Slutsky added 10 points, including a layup off a feed from Pierce and a floater off the glass midway through the third to give Roslyn the lead for good at 33-30.
Bethpage leading scorer Greg Gerber, who missed the previous two games because of illness and was questionable for Friday, came off the bench to score 17 points. Troy Hill added nine points on three three-pointers.
Roslyn will play Mineola in the quarterfinals Tuesday.
"We set our goals at the beginning of the season," Roslyn coach Craig Murphy said, "and this win means we are one step closer."