SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Well, we’re still here despite Mayan predictions to the contrary; another apocalypse come and gone. So still breathing and reading this at the end of the 2012 calendar year in high school sports, one might be apt to reflect on the iconic athletic milestones of the past 12 months. But we’ll save those “Auld Lang Syne” pictorial reminiscences for the next issue, starting the New Year by casting a final glance back at the old one. But right now, we are enmeshed in the throes of the winter sports season, which began in early December and ends in mid March.
As such, everything is quite literally up in the air, metaphorically depicted by high jumpers, pole vaulters, basketball leapers and wrestlers tossed aloft by skillful mat mavens. Flying cheerleaders go skyward in heart-defying stunts, skiers hit snowy jumps and go streaking through the wintry sky and, of course, the zany fans of winter sports are always hovering in frenzied anticipation of the next stunning moment, hoping never to come down from their winter euphoria.
As if to reiterate such stratospheric hijinx, the Sullivan West and James I. O’Neill’s boys basketball teams put on an enthralling airy spectacle on December 19 in a Division IV clash that might well have been called “The Reign Of Threes Redux” were it not for three contravening reasons. First, despite firing in 12, count ‘em 12, three pointers in the game, five of which came from Kyle Manzi, four from Matt Cardona and three from Chance Bibbo, the long assault came up a bit short as O’Neill won the game 67-60. Thus, despite the Westies’ rain of threes, it was the Raiders that would reign supreme. Had the Bulldogs won in this fashion the redux addition to the title would have referenced the 73-50 January 15, 2005 Westie win over Marlboro, wherein a record-setting 14 threes were registered by the Dawgs, with seven of them posted by Sean Semenetz, six from Joe Meyer and one from Sean Kelly. Given the outcome of this week’s spectacular display, though, for Sullivan West 2-1 (0-1 OCIAA) there was no reign and no redux. Skyward though went the Raiders as they leaped to pull down rebound after rebound, abetted by the early foul trouble of Sullivan West junior giant Patrick Pierce, who garnered three fouls in the first quarter, which minimized his participation and aggressiveness during the remainder of the game. On the contrary, Matt Cardona’s game-high 25 points and the 19 poured in by Kyle Manzi helped to keep the drama suspended in mid-air with this year’s populous and chanting Dawg Pound wondering as to which team would come out on top. The lead changed hands often and neither team ever enjoyed more than a seven-point edge, the very margin of victory as it would turn out.
On the girls side of the ledger, the Tri-Valley girls shook off a rare pair of losses and steamrolled Division V rival Fallsburg on the road to the airy tune of 53-25. The Lady Bears 3-3 (1-1 OCIAA) stopped a six-game winning streak of the Lady Comets, who are now 6-2 (1-2 OCIAA). Caroline Martin led Tri-Valley with 19 points. Katlynn Greffrath added a trio of treys for her 13-point contribution. Fallsburg’s Nyasia Blakney was game high scorer with 20, as she accounted for 80 percent of Fallsburg’s meager output.
In other girls action this week, Sullivan West fell to Port Jervis 40-17 and then lost a league game to O’Neill 43-26. Monticello’s girls improved to 4-1 (1-0 OCIAA) with a 56-17 win over Family School and a 69-32 league win over Port Jervis. Meanwhile, the Lady Yellow Jackets of Eldred lost to Chapel Field 58-48 to fall to 1-4 (1-1 OCIAA).
In boys action, Monticello got a needed league win over Port Jervis by the score of 44-32 to improve to 3-2 (1-1 OCIAA). Fallsburg downed Chester 66-61 to improve to 3-2 (1-1 OCIAA). Livingston Manor improved to 2-2, (2-0) OCIAA with a 58-37 win over Eldred. Basketball action will rekindle in the days after Christmas with a number of holiday tournaments before the real fireworks begin after the New Year.