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Opening salvos

Liberty’s Eddie Byrd (3) was named to the All-Tournament team at S.S. Seward’s Spartan Invitational Basketball Tournament. He posted 19 and 14 respectively in Liberty’s losing efforts against Millbrook and Seward. Here he rises to the occasion in the consolation game against the S.S. Seward Spartans.


December 8, 2011

ORANGE COUNTY, NY — And so it begins, that zany, intense time when the rock rules in gyms across the region in the din of deafening cheers and chants. The subject, for those of you who haven’t gleaned it yet, is high school basketball, second to none in the frenzy it engenders on a near-nightly basis.

Indeed, those long-quiet hounds of the hardwood have now returned and will be with us through mid-March, when the final buzzer sounds in the last Federation Game, a week after the NYSPHSAA state championships at Glens Falls. What ends there begins here, as teams begin tournament play as a preamble to the daunting league and sectional games that will determine local and regional victors.

This past week, a trio of basketball tournaments featured the debut of the 2011-12 versions of teams from Sullivan West, Fallsburg, Liberty and Eldred. Fallsburg’s boys lost their opener to the Walton Warriors 51-49 but came back to edge Sullivan West 61-57 in the consolation game. The Westies lost 55-35 to Unatego in the opener and looked to the subsequent Chester Tournament to record their first win of the season, one that would match their win total for 2010-11. They got that with a 50-34 win over Chapel Field in the Sixth Annual Chester Hambletonian Classic. E.J. Franskevicz was the leading scorer with 12. The Bulldogs advance to play Fallsburg on December 10. Class B Sullivan West and Class C Fallsburg will then part ways for the remainder of this season. Fallsburg handily disposed of league rival Chester in the opening round by the score of 61-37. Braiden DeGraw led the charge with 27 points, while Michael Robinson poured in 15. Earlier in the day in girls action, Eldred defeated Sullivan West 32-22 in the opener and Chester thumped Fallsburg 42-23 in the nightcap. That sets up a consolation game between Fallsburg and Sullivan West on December 10, while Chester will host Eldred in the title clash. Fallsburg was coming off a 1-1 stint at the Walton Tourney, which they finished with a resounding 53-33 win over Downsville, in which senior Sheryl Pinder led all scorers with 32 points that included eight three-pointers. Pinder struggled against Chester though and only netted seven. The game counted as a league match up, since Chapel Field didn’t field a girls team this season and Fallsburg agreed to make this game Chester’s home game of their regular season two-game series.