The Kenney connection is a strong one. And one that was on full display when the Mineola basketball team needed it most.
Caitlin Kenney and Elizabeth Kenney, twin sisters for Mineola, have shared a basketball court together for the majority of their lives. That’s one perk of being the same age in the same household with a similar passion.
“We know everything about each other,” Caitlin said. “I know where she’s comfortable, she knows where I’m comfortable with the ball so we always put each other in good positions to score.”
And that connection provided the spark host Mineola needed after turning a six-point halftime deficit into a 62-55 victory over Floral Park in Nassau Conference A-IV girls basketball action on Thursday.
Elizabeth scored 20 points, including 12 in the second half on four three-pointers, and Caitlin had 11 of her 16 points in the second half.
“They know exactly where to hit each other and they know how to work with one another to set their teammates up in the best positions,” coach Kayla Koch said. “Their connection is just something really, really special.”
Even when things aren’t going their way, the fact they are so comfortable with each other helps the Mustangs.
“We work well off each other,” Elizabeth said. “But also, we’re not scared to yell at each other and let them know where they need to be.”
Mineola (3-2) showed off its offensive prowess in the second half, scoring 45 points in the 16 minutes after scoring 17 points in the first half. Brianna Robinson added 16 points, including nine points in the fourth quarter. Emma Kline led Floral Park with 24 points.
“We just had to get in a rhythm,” Caitlin said. “We started hitting our shots more. We can pass to any of our shooters and we are all confident they are going to hit the shot.”
Floral Park (3-3) led 23-17 at halftime but Mineola opened the second half with a 13-2 run, capped off by Elizabeth’s three-pointer to give the Mustangs a 30-25 lead with 3:31 left in the third quarter. Mineola opened a 50-37 lead following a three-pointer from Robinson with 5:42 left in the fourth quarter. Floral Park cut Mineola’s lead to 58-54 with 1:19 left in the fourth quarter but got no closer.
Mineola outscored Floral Park 21-9 in the third quarter.
“We are resilient,” Koch said. “We never give up, whether we are up or down. We continue to push and believe in one another and that’s really what it came down to. We knew we needed a big third quarter and we did that.”
Mineola fell to Plainedge in the Nassau Class A final last season. The Mustangs want to return to that stage and leave with a different result.
“I still think about that game,” Elizabeth said. “I just want to get back to the playoffs again.”
“It’s all starting to flourish as we head into the second half of the season,” Koch said. “We know what we need to do to take care of teams and make the playoffs and then just do damage — just like we did last year.”