By Emmanuel Rodriguez
Tuesday night was an unforgettable night for South Park senior Raymond Mushat.
Mushat reached the 1,000 career point mark as he propelled his team to a blowout 69-46 victory over the Cheektowaga Warriors to send the Sparks to the Section VI Class A-2 Finals.
After a couple missed opportunities on both sides, with 6:17 left in the third, Mushat was able to make a layup for his 1,000th career point. The Sparks called a timeout and gave Mushat his moment as he was showered with applause and was given a commemorative ball.
“I was excited. I’ve wanted this since I was younger. This is the best accomplishment of my career,” said a joyful Mushat after the game, clutching his commemorative ball in his left arm.
The Class A2 Section VI championship game will be on Saturday as the Sparks, with a 13-9 record, will take on the 15-7 Lake Shore Eagles at 7 p.m. at Buffalo State.
Mushat got his first points of the night with 4:04 left in the first quarter and by then, the Sparks had an early six-point lead which caused Warriors coach Patrick Cullinan to irately call his first timeout.
Sparks’ sophomore Anthony Mack put on a show in the first quarter. Mack, listed at 5 foot 5 inches, showed his aggressiveness to get to the rim repeatedly, often driving to the rim and challenging the taller defenders. Mack had seven points in the first quarter and South Park had an 18-7 advantage after the first frame.
The Warriors did their best in the second quarter to keep the game from getting out of hand including three straight jumpers by senior Alek Bryant to cut the deficit to seven. Before the half ended, the Warriors had cut the deficit down to five, but a deep three by Mushat with :00.5 left in the half gave the Sparks an eight-point lead as the teams went to the locker rooms. Mushat sat with 999 career points
Although the third quarter had Mushat’s moment, Mack continued to dazzle as he had 10 points in the third alone, including a pair of threes and an athletic and-one layup after inviting the body contact. His converted and-one ballooned the Sparks advantage to 17. By the end of three, the Sparks were up 49-33.
The Sparks solidified their dominance with a 14-2 run to start the fourth quarter and again, it was Mushat and Mack proving to be the X-factors for South Park. Mack led all scorers with 24 points and Mushat was behind him with 21 points. Bryant led Cheektowaga in scoring with 16 while senior Rudy Bragg was behind him with 12 points.
The Sparks outscored the Warriors 35-22 in the second half and went on to defeat the Cheektowaga Warriors.
“As the year has gone on, we’ve been playing better as a cohesive team. Playing together, trusting each other, working the ball. Guys are starting to fill different roles, they don’t have a single role, now they have multiple roles,” said Sparks coach Pete Hudecki after the game.
Hudeki had some high praises for his team.
“Anthony [Mack] had the best game that he’s had all year, [Mushat] played phenomenally.”
“We were cheering it up for [Mushat] because it’s the first time he hit the floor, in four years of playing varsity, diving for a loose ball,” joked Hudeki with Mr. 1000 beside him.
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