BARDONIA — Earlier this season, Nanuet coach Dave Masterson might’ve put himself in a bind tethering leading scorer Mike Mulligan to the bench for 12 straight minutes. He had no choice Thursday after the senior guard was whistled for his second foul midway through the first quarter.
But instead of fading, the Golden Knights surged behind sophomore Kevin Mackin and Terence Rogers. Four 3-pointers later, Nanuet held an 11-point lead after one period and used that cushion to spur a 54-32 victory at Albertus Magnus.
“Mike’s our leading scorer,” Mackin said. “Every time he comes out, someone else has to step up and fill his shoes.”
Mackin did that and more, burning Albertus for 19 points, most of them on his five 3-pointers. Rogers scored just five but also dished out five assists off the bench. His 3 at the buzzer lifted the Golden Knights (7-8) to a 23-12 lead after one.
“I have a couple young kids who are pretty good basketball players and they’ve taken some accountability as the year’s gone on,” Masterson said. “Mike’s been a really good team leader in terms of giving up some of his offensive responsibility to Terence and Kevin and they’ve grasped it.”
Another sophomore, big man Aedan Lombardo, chipped in nine points and six rebounds. He and seniors John Verwoert (10 rebounds) and Shawn Celestin (7 points, 6 rebounds) swallowed up the Falcons’ misses.
Albertus (4-10) finally appeared to establish some momentum midway through the third quarter when it cut the deficit to 32-26. Instead, Rogers set up Mulligan for a three-point play that sparked a 22-6 finish over the final 9:21.
“I think they’re starting to realize they can be pretty good if they play together as a team,” Masterson said. “The next step is we have to do it for four quarters against teams like Tappan Zee and Pearl River.”
Nanuet has three games remaining in the regular season, but has already added two wins to last season’s total despite integrating four sophomores.
“We’re just playing a lot tougher than we did the last couple years,” Mulligan said. “We have a lot better talent and we’re playing togehter.”
Junior Owen Lorenz led Albertus with 13 points and sophomore David Garcia grabbed nine rebounds.