By Dondre Lemon
As Long Island enters a new season of warm weather, Mineola High School students are shedding their winter jackets and beginning spring sports. With that, comes the end of basketball season. Coaches Dan Bailey of the girls varsity team and Jamie McAndrew of the boys basketball team bid farewell to their senior players.
“I’m very happy with the men’s varsity basketball team this year, as they have exceeded many expectations,” said McAndrew.
The men’s team had two major wins against the Island Trees High School this past season. McAndrew knew it would be a challenge and was very pleased with the outcome with Mineola High School being named second overall in their conference.
The women’s varsity basketball team also had major wins this season, finishing 15-4 overall.
“We won the Herricks tournament, which was a great celebration for us,” said Bailey. The team also won the home playoffs against Lynbrook High School, with a score of 35. “[The game had] a lot of fans in attendance and a good win for the girls that propelled us to the next round,” explained Bailey. The team also had a close game against Sacred Heart Academy. “Mineola took home the win by one point in a very difficult game,” said Bailey.
Both coaches saw growth in their players.
“Overall, the seniors have learned to be leaders on and off the court, which makes a difference and affects the younger guys on the team,” McAndrew said.
“I was lucky to have amazing girls and teach them hardwork, teamwork and what it means to be a positive influence,” added Bailey.
The players taught their coaches many things as well.
“They have taught me to be a little more kind and understanding; at times I can be short tempered,” Bailey said.
“They taught me how important relationships are between players and coaches, not just to be there and boss them around, but it pays to learn and listen and incorporate what they like and want to be successful,” McAndrew said.
Both coaches are looking ahead to next season.
“When we started, there were 14 kids willing to join, but now we have to make cuts because people want to be a part of the team thanks to the players,” Bailey said.
The girl’s team was 2-17 before both coaches joined.
“I want to thank them for all they have done for the program and bringing back a winning culture for Mineola basketball,” said McAndrew. “They are the building blocks and there is nothing I asked them that they didn’t do. Going forward, I would like to see them in the weight room getting ready for college basketball, but as long as they stay hungry and keep putting the time and effort, I will definitely be looking forward to them having wonderful academic and athletic careers in college.”
—Dondre Lemon is a journalism student at LIU