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What A “Knight”

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What A “Knight”

Shane Palma, Editor in Chief

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“This place is not like your typical high school gym,” said senior guard Jim Ollen as he warmed up before the game. “The atmosphere here (Nassau Coliseum) is just unlike anywhere I’ve ever played.”

It was a rare “away” home game for the Knights as Floral Park’s boys’ varsity basketball traveled to Uniondale to play a non-league contest against Freeport at the historic Nassau Coliseum. From the opening tip, it was clear that this was going to be a physical, back and forth game between two quality teams. In an attempt to attract more fans to attend games for the Long Island Nets, the G League affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets, the Coliseum has offered local teams the opportunity to play games in this arena. The girls’ team will also take advantage of this exciting offer when it plays crosstown rival Sewanhaka on Tuesday, December 18.

This game for the Knights started similar to its first one against Roslyn. Some bad turnovers and poor communication on the court left Floral Park trailing 13-9 at the end of the first quarter. Fortunately, Freeport also suffered from some early season mistakes along with the nerves and adrenaline that was running high due to the environment. It is not every day that high schoolers get to play in an arena that typically hosts 13,000 fans. While the first half was not the most impressive display of basketball, the third quarter was another story.

In what seemed like an instant replay from the season opener, senior Jayson Delgado sparked the Knights to an incredible run out of halftime. Finishing the game with 24 points, draining clutch shots when they were most needed, Delgado was easily the game’s most valuable player. Freeport was able to cut the deficit from double digits down to two within the final seconds. But seniors Mike Matich and Matt O’Donnell denied overtime with a defensive stop at the buzzer. The Knights improved to 2-0 on the season with the 53-51 victory. This is a great start for a team that graduated four starters from last year’s county finalist team.

“Every senior has done his part to fill the void left by those who graduated,” said Sean Finucane, who is recovering from an off-season injury and set to return for the league schedule.

With the emergence of new leaders, this team can certainly be a playoff contender yet again.

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