Mike Waszczuk's 23 points leads Mineola
The Mustangs are back to running on three cylinders.
The three-guard set run by Mineola, as seen in Saturday's 61-46 win over Roosevelt at the "Yes We Can" Community Center in Westbury, gives its offense multiple options and leaves opposing defenses with multiple concerns.
Option One: Give the ball to Malcolm Brown, arguably best ballhandler of the three.
Option Two: Give the ball to Brian Gaffney, arguably the best distributor of the three.
Option Three: Give the ball to Mike Waszczuk, arguably the best shooter of the three.
"It's beautiful because most teams strategize and worry about keying in on one point guard," Mineola coach James Hegmann said. "Now they have to worry about three guys bringing the ball up."
The one who gave the defense most to worry about Saturday was Waszczuk. In his second game back from missing more than a month with a shoulder injury, the senior guard matched a season-high with 23 points.
"We all know how each other play," he said. "We have nine seniors on the team. Me, Malcolm and Gaffney have been playing four years. We are a big family."
They share (the ball) as a family should, also. Waszczuk swished back-to-back threes from the same spot on the left wing, both off outlet passes from Gaffney, to ignite a 16-0 run in the first quarter.
Brown capped the run with consecutive jumpers. He scored nine of his 10 points in the first half, including a pullup three with 3:10 left that pushed the Mineola lead to 34-13.
"They have to account for everybody," Brown said. "All three of us can drive and our big men can finish. So, it's a pretty good combination."
With the win, Mineola (7-1) took over sole possession of first place in Conference A-IV.
Waszczuk scored seven of Mineola's nine third-quarter points. He hit a layup plus the foul shot for a three-point play, which was setup by a tip pass from Brown during a loose ball under the basket, to put Mineola up 47-30 with less than one minute left in the third.
Khalil Wilson led Roosevelt with 12 points and Warren Mimms added 11 points.
Jordon Sutton, who scored all 10 of his points in the second half, converted a three-point play and Wilson followed with a corner three to pull Roosevelt (5-2) within 11 with seven minutes remaining.
But Waszczuk responded with a three of his own off an inbounds pass, and Gaffney, who had 14 points, added a putback on the ensuing possession.
"It's not one guy, it's a team," Gaffney said. "That's why we are doing well. We don't care who is scoring the points, we just want to win."
But in order to win, someone has to score. So, hypothetical situation: Tie game, seconds left, three guards, one ball. Does it go to Brown, Gaffney or Waszczuk?
"I don't know," Hegmann said with a laugh. "As long as the shot goes in, it doesn't matter."