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Relentless Shooting from Long Range Leads George Mason to Win over Hofstra

Hofstra's Charles Jenkins hits a floater in the lane against George Mason's zone. The Pride struggled at times to penetrate the Patriots' defense. Jenkins finished the game with 26 points, nearly 8 points better than his season average. (NNL photo by Timothy Robertson)

Strong post defense from Hofstra couldn’t stop George Mason’s barrage of 3-pointers as the Pride fell to the Patriots in their second meeting this season, 90-72.

The Pride has lost its last four games, its longest losing streak of the season, all against CAA conference opponents. The Patriots are 6-1 in their last seven games.

The 90-point output scored by George Mason was their highest scoring output of the season.  Long’s 27 points gave him a new career high. Despite Hofstra’s (9-11, 2-6) strong first-half defense, with six blocks and five steals, the Pride went into halftime down 38-30.

“They came out and shot lights-out on the three’s in the first half and that helped them get their extension,” said Hofstra coach Tom Pecora.

The Pride exploited the Patriots’ weak inside presence with 16 first-half points in the paint.  George Mason answered with 21 of their 38 points coming from their guards.

Pride junior guard Charles Jenkins fouled out with 2:36 remaining in the game, going 7-14 from the field with 26 points.  Hofstra senior forward Miklos Szabo fouled out late in the second half, ending the night with 14 points and 12 rebounds, his second double-double of the season.

Hofstra senior guard Cornelius Vines played just 11 minutes – including none in the second half. Vines finished with no points and one turnover.

“He’s got no confidence,” said Pecora.  “I said to him ‘you had a good look there, you have to shoot,’ and he said, ‘I don’t have any confidence.’  If someone doesn’t have confidence I can’t play them. When he gets his confidence back he’ll get back on the floor.”

Despite his disappointment in the team’s level of play, Pecora blamed himself for the loss.

“This one’s on me, boys,” Pecora said. “I obviously have not been able to get through to these guys in regards to what I need them to do and the energy I need them to play with.  It all comes down to me.”

View the slideshow of the game.

Listen to the audio recap of the game.

View the game box score.

Read Hofstra’s press release.

Read George Mason’s press release.

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Garden City Defense Secures Nassau Football Title

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

November 20, 2009

The Garden City Trojans scored two rushing touchdowns in the third
quarter to defeat the Wantagh Warriors 14-0 on Saturday. The Trojans
move on to the Long Island championship game against North Babylon on
Nov. 27. (NNL video by Tim Robertson)

For the first time since 2005, the Garden City Trojans captured the Nassau County conference II title and move on to the Long Island championship next weekend.

Garden City and Wantagh locked themselves in a defensive battle in the first half, but it was Garden City and its field possession in the third quarter that turned the game in their favor.

Trojans running back Brian Fischer put his team on the board with a 30-yard scamper just two minutes into the second half. Fellow back Stephen Jahelka followed with a 2-yard run as he found the end zone untouched.

“I think we were in better shape physically, and we just wore them down,” Trojans coach Tom Flatley said after the game.

Fischer finished with 15 rushing attempts for 108 yards. The Trojans finished the game with 234 yards, all on the ground.

Garden City’s defense held Wantagh all game as the Warriors finished with 35 yards on the ground. Wantagh only drove deep twice. Once the Warriors failed on fourth down, and another the Trojans intercepted a pass at the 6-yard line.

That big interception by senior Chris Stapleford on third-and-11 kept Wantagh out of the end zone and maintained their 14-0 lead.

Wantagh senior quarterback Kyle Ambury finished the game 11-23 with 112 passing with no interceptions, and Garden City sacked him three times — all in the second half. Wantagh running back Mike Scully threw the Warriors’ lone pick.

“We got a much better pass rush in the second half that the first half, and that put pressure on them,” Flatley said.

Garden City will play North Babylon at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27, at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

ODU Knocks Hofstra Out of CAA Playoffs

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

March 7, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. — Hofstra coach Tom Pecora wasn’t beating himself up after his team lost a pressure-cooker of a game to Old Dominion in the CAA quarterfinals Saturday afternoon. The main reason, he has star sophomore Charles Jenkins for two more seasons.

Jenkins, who led the Pride with 27 points and six rebounds, saw his buzzer-beating try skim off ODU forward Jonathan Adams’ hand and into the air. After falling to the floor, it’s hard to say if Jenkins saw the ball fall too.

“I just wanted to score… I just wanted it to go in the basket,” a quiet and dejected Jenkins said following the game.

His coach Tom Pecora described why Jenkins took the final shot, “I will live and die with the ball in [Jenkins’] hands.”

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The dramatic win for Old Dominion earns a CAA semifinal date with nemesis Virginia Commonwealth University, the tournament’s top seed, Sunday afternoon.

CAA first teamer Gerald Lee didn’t just “pace” the Monarchs or “lead” his team to victory. He was that victory. He was the team. Lee dumped in 30 points — nearly 60 percent of ODU’s scoring — and added 10 rebounds. The 6-foot 10-inch forward shot 13-19 from the floor, while the rest of his team went 8-35.

“Gerald Lee played more like Tim Duncan today,” Pecora said.

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Hofstra didn’t have an answer for Lee, who received beatings from four Pride big men. Hofstra threw double and triple teams at Lee, but to no avail.

Hofstra led at halftime, but fell flat in the second half, going eight minutes without a basket and only one free throw. Woes continued as they managed just five points in more than 12 minutes. ODU took advantage, slightly, building an eight-point advantage. Trouble at the free throw line prevented ODU from dominating the second half. For the game, the Monarchs shot 8-19, or 42 percent.

The Pride entered the CAA playoffs as ranked fifth in rebounding in the country, but it didn’t show through Saturday. Old Dominion, which got beat on the glass by 13 at Hofstra earlier this year, cleaned the glass and out-rebounded the Pride by 13. ODU turned 16 offensive rebounds into extra possessions and extra points.

While ODU ends Hofstra’s CAA season, the Pride hope to earn a bid to one of the postseason tournaments. The best tournament they could hope for is the National Invitational Tournament. They won’t find out whether their season continues for at least another week.

“I hope we are a postseason team. I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” Pecora said.

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Hofstra head coach Tom Pecora and Charles Jenkins at the post-game press conference (Top). Hofstra senior Dane Johnson walks off the court after the Pride lost to Old Dominion on Saturday in the CAA basketball tournament. (Bottom). (Nassau News Live photos by Tim Robertson)

‘Punch in the Face’: Hofstra Upsets No. 7 James Madison

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

October 3, 2009

Revenge, redemption and rushing.

The Hofstra Pride revenged a 56-0 drubbing against James Madison last season; redeemed itself after a 47-0 defeat two weeks ago against Richmond; and did it by rushing all over James Madison Saturday to preserve a 24-17 win in a rain-soaked CAA football affair.

“[Hofstra] played like an embarrassed football team. Their kids played hard,” Dukes coach Mickey Matthews said after the game. “They’re a better football team than what they showed against Richmond.”

Hofstra (3-2, 1-1) rushed for 154 yards on a Dukes defense that allows 133 yards a game – ranked 10th in the CAA coming into the game – and received a pair of touchdown catches from freshman tight end Dave Wilson, his first two of his career.

“Coach [Dave Cohen] put me in position to make plays, and I was right there and wide open,” Wilson said.

James Madison (2-2, 0-1) couldn’t solve Hofstra’s rushing attack, even after adjustments were made by the Dukes coaching staff.

“We couldn’t stop ’em. We threw every defense known to man at them,” said Matthews.

Hofstra quarterbacks Steve Probst and Cory Christopher rushed for 44 and 46 yards, respectively, while Everette Benjamin rushed 12 times for 58 yards to lead the Pride. It was Benjamin’s first game back after missing the past two weeks due to injury.

But it was also Hofstra’s daring offensive play calls that made a difference. On fourth down and a yard to go in the first quarter on its own 42, the Pride went for it and got a 22-yard run. Hofstra finished the game 4-5 on fourth down conversions.

“That was the whole game. We couldn’t get off the field,” said Matthews. “When did they miss one? Must’ve been sometime in pregame.”

In front of 2,751 fans, the Pride and Dukes swapped scoring possessions in the first half before a rare 47-minute weather delay due to lightning in the area sent both teams to their locker rooms with just 1:23 remaining in the first half.

When play resumed, Hofstra finished off a 15-play, 66-yard drive with a touchdown to a wide-open Wilson in the back of the end zone.

“[The defender] came right off me, I cut the out, and I was wide open. Right when I turned the ball was right there,” said Wilson, who finished with a team-high four receptions for 68 yards.

The home team’s defense also picked it up and held James Madison to an astoundingly-low 56 yards passing. Duke quarterbacks went a combined 8-14 with one interception. The majority of James Madison’s passing yards came on their last drive in a desperate attempt to tie the game. Quarterback Drew Dudzik hit Rockeed McCarter twice on the final drive for 42 yards.

“Our coaches did a great job preparing us for their different quarterbacks. [Our defense] made plays,” said defensive end Deron Mayo. The Pride had two takeaways, including a fumble recovery that led to a touchdown and an interception that led to a Hofstra field goal.

The Pride’s defense allowed 136 yards on the ground, including 127 to Dukes quarterback Justin Thorpe, who seemed to scramble at will around the Pride. Thorpe finished with a rushing touchdown as well.

Wilson said he thought the Dukes gazed too far ahead to their match-up against No.1-ranked, and CAA rival, Richmond next week.

“In my opinion they looked passed us, and we just punched them in the face and took it from them,” a grinning Probst said.

Hofstra will face Maine in the Pride’s Homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 10.

Hempstead Village Adopts Downtown Vision Plan Unexpectedly

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

A green space near the Hempstead train station would be a focal point of the Downtown Vision plan. The village board of trustees voted 4-1 on Tuesday to adopt this plan and begin searching for a developer after 11 months of inaction.
(Photo from Vision Report, Village of Hempstead Community Development Agency)

After months of inaction, the Hempstead Board of Trustees voted 4-1 Tuesday night to adopt a draft plan for the controversial Downtown Vision development project.

Several residents said they were shocked by the vote and even the placement of the dormant issue on the meeting’s agenda.

“They surprised the community by putting it on the agenda, and no one knew about it,” said Katherine Garry. “Very unexpected.”

The Village of Hempstead devised a plan to revitalize North Main Street near the LIRR train station and the MTA bus terminal. In the fall of 2008, an environmental impact study determined that if the plan could be fully implemented, it would create $7.1 million in revenue for the village, whereas a scaled-down version of the plan would generate $2.4 million.

Mayor Wayne Hall said he is going to start meeting with designers and architects immediately, and put out the development of the village’s project out for bid.

“It is getting ready to get started,” Hall said at the meeting. The Village of Hempstead plan originally called for the board to draft the plan in November 2008 — 11 months before Tuesday’s meeting.

Hall didn’t mention a specific delay during discussion of the proposal at the meeting, but defended his decision not to hold further public meetings despite promises to do so after a large turnout at previous hearings held last year.

“After reconsidering, we heard from everyone that had something to say,” Hall said at the meeting.

Trustee Don Ryan cast the only dissenting vote.

The plan calls for between 2,500 and 3,000 new residential units — a mix of townhouses and condos — that Garry calls “upscale” and would do nothing but force the community out of the downtown area.

The village’s proposal calls for more than 500,000 square feet of retail space, which Garry contends would drive small businesses out.

Hempstead resident Mark Bottoms agreed, and pointed to tax breaks he says businesses would receive to come into the village.

“It’s time for the taxpayers to stop carrying the burden of blighted sites and tax burden, because developers come in and don’t have to pay anything,” Bottoms said in an interview. “The keep selling us out. Where are the benefits for the residents? Why in our backyard?

For complete Village of Hempstead meeting coverage, check our live blog.

Downtown Vision Plan Slideshow

What the 2008 Hempstead Village report says:

Benefits:

  • Increase revenue and strengthen tax base
  • Strengthen the economy while enhancing quality of life
  • Promote a mix of uses including housing in the downtown
  • Redevelop underutilized buildings and surface lots
  • Enhance walkability and pedestrian safety
  • Increase / improve / connect public open space & parks
  • Focus on accessibility / intermodal center


Recommended action suggested by environment study:

  • 120’ height limit within one-quarter mile of the transit center
  • 85’ height limit within half-mile of the transit center
  • Allow residential land use downtown
  • Promote active ground floor retail along Main Street and North Franklin Street with upper level residential uses
  • Create an active and functional transit plaza

The Downtown Vision plan would:

  • Create spaces for multiple public activities
  • Create a “signature” public space at the transit station
  • Provide dedicated bicycle paths
  • Create pedestrian-friendly routes
  • Incorporate sustainable design strategies and maximize transit use

Popeye’s Calls in Police for One-Day Chicken Discount

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment
Popeye's Deep Fried Discount
Police tape closes off the main driveway for Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits in Hempstead on Wednesday. Cars waiting in line for a half-price chicken deal had caused traffic problems during rush hour on Hempstead Turnpike, causing police to close off the front entrance.
(NNL photo by Tim Robertson)

Behind “Police Line Do Not Cross” tape stood dozens at Popeye’s on Wednesday. Cars lined down side streets waiting for the drive through as police officers put up the tape. No one was hurt. They were just hungry.

Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits offered hungry people nationwide a deep-fried discount on an eight-piece chicken meal Wednesday, and in Hempstead that brought fried chicken lovers out in droves.

The $4.99 offer was irrestible as hundreds of people packed the Popeye‘s on Hempstead Turnpike in Hempstead, pouring out the door and down a ramp, while inside people waited in a snaking line throughout the restaurant.

Krevaughn Mascall, 17 of West Hempstead, said he saw the advertisement for the one-day deal on national television as he watched the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs first-round NBA playoff game.

“It’s like there is a celebrity in there or something,” Mascall said as he waited outside with his younger sister.

Mascall said he wanted to come back on Thursday to compare the length-of-wait, but for now he just wanted to satisfy his craving.

“I hope they don’t run out,” he said. “I hope I get my chicken!”

Find a Popeye’s near you.

Editors Drive NNL Hyperlocal Coverage

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment
December 16, 2009

A hyperlocal website can’t run with two people. And when it comes to managing 105 part-time reporters, it takes a lot more than a pair.

The biggest change between this semester and the spring 2009 term was major leap our editors made in picking up responsibilities. I developed beats for seven areas that I wanted NNL to focus on. I included sub-beats in several of them, as well. I then assigned editors to each of the beats and began filling in with reporters. I asked editors to develop their own beat plans, and they did. What resulted on some of the beats was fantastic.

Our coverage of the Lighthouse project turned out excellent (before they pulled themselves off the media map). Our politics coverage benefited a great deal from the hard work that we put in each week to find meetings and bring in unique ways to share the stories.

I couldn’t have handled what I wanted to take on without my team of six editors. Between handling story assignments and what’s coming up and jumping on breaking stories each editor shined this semester, and I’m very grateful for it.

In the inaugural semester of Nassau News Live in the spring of 2009, I shied away from handing great responsibility to a team I generally didn’t know. I took a lot on my shoulders and was swamped all the time. This semester I learned how to delegate to produce results. While I thoroughly enjoy finding newsworthy stories much more than managing people, I can take pride in what we accomplished.

We have a bit of turnover at the editor level heading into 2010, but I look forward to training the new crop on our system and how to help me run a 24-hour newsroom. Hopefully, we’ll be able to spread responsibilities out a bit more, and therefore be able to do more with NNL.

NNL Editors:

Jaymes Langrehr — Business/MTA/Lighthouse

Chari Bayanker — High School Sports

Lisa DiCarlucci — Social Media/Community Manager

Michael Salerno — College Sports

David Gordon — News/Politics

Anna Gallese — Video