Gjonlekaj Scores A Big Year

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Mark_022515AWhile his old team, Roslyn High School, is busy making its way through the highly-competitive Conference A-II playoffs, former Bulldog star Mark Gjonlekaj, now a sophomore for the Old Westbury Panthers, said farewell to the 2014-15 regular season with a monster game of his own.

On Feb. 19, the Panthers entertained St. Joseph’s College for the annual Senior Night game. In his biography on the team’s website, Gjonkelaj claims that the best advice he’s ever received is, “you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

In the St. Joseph’s game, Gjonlekaj took full advantage of his scoring opportunities, hitting 10 of 15 field goal attempts, including five of seven three-point attempts as Old Westbury defeated St. Joseph’s in a free-wheeling shootout, 95-89. In all, Gjonlekaj had a season-high 29 points in 27 minutes of playing time. On defense, he chipped in with four steals and 10 rebounds. The performance was Gjonlekaj’s second double-double in both points and rebounds of his career.

Mark_022515BOld Westbury broke the game open in the third quarter, when Gjonlekaj scored eight of Old Westbury’s 11 points in an 11-1 run that gave the Panthers a 70-57 lead. St. Joseph’s kept up the pressure in this high-scoring game, but the earlier lead was too much to overcome.

Old Westbury finished the regular season with a 12-13 record overall and a winning 12-6 record in Skyline Conference play. They are currently in playoff action. Results of those games will appear in future issues of The Roslyn News.

The big game against St. Joseph’s capped off another fine regular season for Gjonlekaj. In January, he was named Men’s Basketball Divisions II-III Honorable Mention for games played that month. The honor came right after Gjonlekaj was named the Skyline Conference Co-Player of the Week after leading the Panthers to a pair of conference wins.

During is award-winning week, Gjonlekaj averaged 19.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1.0 steals and 1.0 assists per game while shooting 69.2 percent from the field (18-26) and 37.5 percent from three-point territory (3-8). The Roslyn native finished the regular season with 231 points or 12.2 points per game.

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Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

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