Episcopal guard-forward Greg Malinoswki knew Mercer Invitational host the Hill School didn’t think much of his Alexandria boarding school when he saw the bracket and the Maroons were on the host school’s side.
The Maroons went on to defeat the Hill School in the semifinals, 60-47, but with Malinowski limited much of the second half with back spasms, Episcopal fell to the Peddie School (N.J.), 65-44, in Saturday’s final in Pottstown, Penn.
Malinowski averaged18 points in three tournament games in as many days but dehydration caused the 6-foot-6 guard to experience the spasms.
“It was a little weird, the pain went straight to my core and translated to my back,” Malinowski said. “I couldn’t really bend over to play defense or explode.”
With Malinowski hindered, 6-foot-5 sophomore Edwin Ebube took over the scoring load and poured in a career-high 21 points for the Maroons.
“He had a great championship game, he played well,” Malinowski said. “He’s definitely come on lately. He’s rebounded well and is a freak with the amount of strength he has — he dead-lifts 500 pounds.”
Malinowski regularly plays 31 minutes on an Episcopal team that isn’t very deep, so Ebube’s improved play makes Coach Jim Fitzpatrick’s job a little easier.
The Maroons went 2-1 in the Mercer Invitational, and Fitzpatrick was happy with the fight his team showed.
“Even though we lost the final game, we had great weekend,” Fitzpatrick said. “The two wins were terrific. To compete in the IAC we’re going to need to play good teams now to be ready.”
Upon the team’s arrival in Northern Virginia Saturday night, Fitzpatrick quickly transitioned from coach to dad. He had to make sure his players got their departing flights with much of the lineup living outside the area.
The Maroons will part until Jan. 2 when they report back for practice, two days before their matchup with highly-touted Saint James.
“We come back and jump right into playing,” Fitzpatrick said. “The extended time apart may hurt our cohesion but it gives us an opportunity to be energized in January.”
Malinowski practiced Sunday and didn’t have any pain, and the guard said he knows he has to improve his conditioning moving forward. The motto this season for the Maroons is fight fatigue, and the guard will attempt to do so as Episcopal’s leading scorer at 21.1 points per game.