Lynbrook regroups for stretch run


The Lynbrook boys’ basketball team is still hoping to play meaningful games when the calendar flips to February.
Lynbrook entered the midterm break on a three-game losing streak following a 89-35 defeat at Floral Park last Saturday to fall to 3-5 in Conference A6 (4-11 overall) and needs to win three of its final four games to qualify for the playoffs. The schedule, unfortunately, isn’t easy as those contests are against teams in the top half of the standings, including first-place Valley Stream North this Friday.
A cloud of uncertainty hovered over the program after an offseason coaching change and a roster that underwent a major overhaul following a 13-win campaign. But despite all of the turnover, the Owls still find themselves in contention down the stretch.
“I would say we definitely showed at the beginning of the season our youth and inexperience,” first-year head coach Brian Donaldson said prior to the Floral Park game. “As the season has gone on, we have definitely grown as a group. We’re still in the playoff hunt, which is something that I thought we could definitely do this year with such a young group.”
Lynbrook’s season was energized after a dramatic 63-61 win over Plainedge on Jan. 11, giving the team consecutive victories for the first time this season. The Owls led 24-8 after the first quarter on the strength of five 3-pointers but were outscored a combined 29-23 in the next two stanzas before pulling it out on junior Michael Werzinger’s basket with 1.7 seconds remaining.

“In that final possession, Tim [Mingo] executed the play perfectly to drive to the basket,” Donaldson said. “The guy who was guarding Mike came to help, [Tim] kicked it out to Mike, Mike read his defender, pumped-faked [and] took the jumper for the game winner.”
Unfortunately for the Owls, the celebration was short lived as they lost by 29 to Wantagh on Jan. 13 before a 54-39 setback at Valley Stream South four days later despite leading 23-20 at halftime.
The offense is averaging just over 48 points a game and while there is plenty of talent and depth, the leading scorer is Mingo at just under 10 a contest. He has a team-leading seven double-digit scoring games this season, including 18 in a win over Mineola on Jan. 4.
“Tim has had a very good season,” Donaldson said. “We’ve tasked him to be our guy as the lone senior who is getting consistent minutes and he has stepped up to the challenge.”
Junior James O’Donovan (8.3 ppg) has had five double-digit point games and his season high of 15 helped Lynbrook top Great Neck South in the opener on Nov. 29. Werzinger (7.5) owns the only 20-point game an Owl has had this season with 23 in the Mineola victory.
Junior Ismar Purisic (6.2) has been a solid option off the bench of late and sophomores Jake Prince, Jaime Pereira, Cooper Cordes and Devin Byrne have shown plenty of potential on the court.