The back and forth, fast-paced scrimmage featured attacking transition play, three-point shooting, and defensive battles between explosive guards.
Maspeth’s sharp shooting and size advantage helped them take an early eight-point lead, a lead they held for most of the game. But the speed and execution of the Cougars helped them close the gap to under five points late in the fourth quarter.
With under a minute left in the game, Cougar senior guard Cristian Reyes hit a long three-point shot to close the gap to one point. The shot would prove to be too little too late, however, as a turnover on the next play allowed Maspeth to hold on to a 67-65 victory.
Maspeth’s Daniel Piszczatowski and Harrold Pascual finished with 14 points each, while Nathaniel Nickel dropped nine.
“We have great kids who love playing with each other,” said Maspeth coach Anastasia Bitis, an Astoria native who learned the game on the Variety hardwood. “This game was exactly what we needed and well played by both teams.”
Martin Luther senior guard Taylor Huyghue finished with a game-high 21 points, while Reyes and Kumar Lewis had 15 each. Head coach, John Sanchez, looked pleased with his team’s performance.
“We will take away many positive lessons from tonight’s loss,” said MLS caoch John Sanchez. “Defensive toughness and offensive execution are in the DNA of great teams, and I saw sparks of that in us tonight. Consistency in those areas will determine our success.”
MLS JV crushed by Kew-Forest
Led by first year head coach Jon Kablack, the Martin Luther junior varsity basketball team competed in the 6th annual Jim Dilg Christmas Classic at Cathedral Prep in Elmhurst.
The Cougars opened the tournament against the home team. Cathedral Prep came out sluggish, and the Cougars were able to counter on missed opportunities, giving them a narrow lead at the half.
At the start of the third quarter, however, the home team came alive, and the Crusaders took advantage of the Luther’s lack of-depth in the absence of starting freshman point guard Chris Mendoza.
Kablack’s young team ran into its season-long problem: a third-quarter collapse. The Cougars were outscored by 23 in the second half and fell, 57- 42.
The second day of the tournament opened with a consolation matchup between Martin Luther and familiar foes in the Kew Forest Jaguars. The Jaguars came out eager and aggressive, dropping the Cougars in a landslide.
“I don’t know if they forgot to eat their Wheaties, but they certainly forgot how to play this morning,” said Kablack of his team following the 64-point loss.
On a positive note, Kablack was impressed by sophomore forward Tyler Ortiz, who put up 25 points during the two-day competition.
Kablack’s team is right back in action on Wednesday against the same Jaguar squad that gave the Cougars one to forget last week.