Teammates heaped praise on "Shaq," crediting so much of Uniondale's success to the superstar point guard's skills. That he creates mismatches and commands frequent double-teams, they said, is what freed others to operate with ease.
Dominance comes in various forms, and Shaquille Mosley proved that again Monday in the Nassau Class AA semifinals at SUNY-Old Westbury. The 5-8 senior's 15 points, five assists and three steals (along with all of his intangibles) led top-seeded Uniondale to a 59-51 win over No. 4 Farmingdale.
For the record, Mosley said he wasn't named after Shaquille O'Neal. And it was Kenny Woodard, the Knights' 6-6 center, who performed in the post with 19 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks. Uniondale coach Tom Diana described him as "one of the heart guys."
"We knew they'd try to box Shaq in,'' Woodard said. "Teams worry about his quickness outside, so I get to do my thing.''
Uniondale (20-0) led from midway through the first quarter -- Mosley's layup made it 9-7 -- and went up by 12 in the second quarter. But the Dalers never allowed the Knights to get comfortable. Matthew DiCarlo's layup brought Farmingdale within 46-44 with 4:40 left, and for the first time, some tension set in on the Uniondale bench.
But Jerel McGary, whom coaches have begged to shoot more, swished a three-pointer, pushing the lead to five with 4:06 to go. "Sometimes I get passive," said McGary (eight points, seven steals), "but right there I had to take that shot."
Woodard made it 53-47, scoring on a putback of his missed free throw with 1:59 remaining.
DaShawn Benson had six points and eight rebounds, and Terrence Brown nine boards for Uniondale, which will face Baldwin in the final Saturday at Hofstra.
Dalique Mingo scored 19 points and Curtis Jenkins 18 for Farmingdale (13-4).
"We won't celebrate this much," Mosley said. "We're thinking about the final already. Our goal is to get to states and win everything. That's what drives this team, what fuels us."
It runs on some Shaq diesel, too.