Central Islip’s boys basketball team received a scare in the second quarter.
My’Quel Matthews, the Musketeers’ 6-2 captain, received an elbow on the top of his head after battling for a rebound and left the court bloodied. This could have meant disaster for Central Islip, which already was in foul trouble.
“My’Quel, he keeps us together,” said coach Larry Butzke. “He’s our glue.”
After being patched up, Matthews returned in the second half and finished with 11 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and two steals as Central Islip defeated Copiague, 67-58, at home Tuesday.
“I don’t know if the outcome would have been the same if he didn’t come back,” Butzke said. “He would have been a tough guy to go.”
Matthews just views it as him doing his part. As a senior captain, he takes pride in getting the Musketeers ready.
“It’s for my team,” said Matthews wearing No. 55 because his No. 33 jersey had blood on it. “I know we have a lot of young guys so we have to rebound and focus on the fundamentals so I want to help rebound for the team.”
His teammate Malik Clark, who had a team-leading 15 points, added “we need My’Quel. We definitely need him so we were hoping the injury wasn’t too serious so he could come back and help us out.”
In Matthews’ absence, Clark took control of the offense. He scored 10 points in the second quarter, which Central Islip (3-0) outscored the Eagles 22-11 to take a 38-27 halftime lead. But he didn’t take much of the credit.
“Defense,” Clark said. “The defense was very good. And we were attacking the basket, getting free throws, going inside. Just basically attacking the paint.”
Matthews’ difference was evident in the third quarter when he scored six of the Musketeers’ seven points.
“It was two good basketball teams going at each other,” Butzke said. “We did make a lot of mistakes to keep them in the ball game, a lot of turnovers by their pressure and a lot of our young guys going out there, but when it counted they came up strong.”
The fourth quarter was all about sophomore Angel Jimenez, who scored Central Islip’s first eight points off the bench and finished with 14 points.
“Angel’s been doing that every game all year,” Butzke said. “He’s our sparkplug off the bench. He brings energy. In every game he just adds another dimension.”
Andre Morgan (25 points) nearly willed Copiague (1-1) back in the game in the fourth with a pair of deep three-pointers but the Eagles couldn’t get the game within one possession.