Central Islip’s Angel Jimenez wasn’t satisfied with his performance for the first three quarters. However, with his team leading by a point, he knew there was still a chance for redemption.
Jimenez made the fourth quarter his in a 63-56 Central Islip victory over Elmont in boys basketball action at the Nassau-Suffolk Challenge at Uniondale High School Saturday. He scored 11 of his team’s 23 fourth-quarter points.
“In the first half, I felt I was letting my team down,” Jimenez said. “I had to make it up to them and play my heart out and that’s every day. Every night I play my heart out.”
When Jimenez wasn’t scoring, he was firing passes, generating steals and crashing the boards for additional possessions.
“We’re not a one-player team,” Jimenez said, who finished with 15 points, six assists and three steals. “Everyone wants to play together and put it together and win.”
Central Islip’s Darryan Fuentes (16 points), Javal Staton (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Ty-Shon Pannell (12 points) carried the Musketeers throughout the first three quarters. But the players knew Jimenez was going to be there when needed.
“Just play defense,” Fuentes said, “and get the ball to the man who’s hot, which was Angel.”
“It’s good knowing that in crunchtime we have someone who’s able to make a play,” assistant coach Andre Murphy said. “Nobody stands around worrying about who’s going to take the big shot, he’s never afraid to take the big shot. He’s got all the confidence in the world and it’s great to have that on a team.”
Elmont (7-5), which was led by Victor Olawoye (21 points) and William Cook (10 points), used a high-intensity defense to hold Central Islip’s powerful offense well under its season average.
But Jimenez’s finish proved too much for the Spartans.
“When he picks it up, like he did in that fourth quarter,” Murphy said, “everybody else steps up to another level to try to keep up with him.”
Central Islip (11-2) was without coach Larry Butzke, who was with his family after his nephew, Joshua, died in a skydiving accident. The players FaceTimed their coach with the championship plaque.
“We did it for him,” Jimenez said. “We know he’s part of us and we’re part of him and that relationship we have toward coach and our teammates, we’re there for each other and we’re there for him.”