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Monticello’s Anthony Gray led the Panthers with 22 points but the Monties’ departure from its set offense and good defense of the three cost them the game.

December 22, 2011

MONTICELLO, NY — Sullivan West junior Matt Cardona loves shooting the three-point shot so much that he spends the lion’s share of his spare time beyond the arc working assiduously on its accuracy. Like the character Jimmy Chitwood, based on Milan High School’s Bobby Pump in the iconic film “Hoosiers,” whose relentless practice paid off in the historic 1954 Indiana State Championship win over Muncie Central, Cardona’s hard work yielded big dividends in Sullivan West’s momentous come-from-behind 58-50 road win against Monticello in the December 16 Jingle Ball Classic, a home-opener fundraiser for the Monticello Toy Drive that netted upward of $250.

Smiles were in no short supply for the Bulldogs, after the startling victory. Cardona hit an uncanny five treys in the fourth quarter as he poured in 18 of the Westies’ 29 points in the period. Back in the day when tiny Milan (enrollment 162) defeated the much larger Muncie Central with its 1,662 students by the score of 32-30 in the David versus Goliath Indiana state title game, there was no such thing as a three-point shot as Plump nailed the final bucket in the storied win. Class B Sullivan West, with its enrollment of 334, is less than half the size of Class A Monticello (819). Upset victories always raise the pulse and this one had hearts a-thumping. By night’s end, the soft-spoken Cardona had posted a game-high 26 points to help propel the under-Dawgs by the stunned Panthers. The game stood in stark contrast to Monticello’s 92-41 mauling of Sullivan West in last season’s cats and Dawgs encounter. For the Sullivan West Bulldogs, who won only one game all of last year and who faltered mightily in their last game against Fallsburg wherein they failed to score in the second quarter, this win was historic and hearkened back to a 2005 SW victory in the Panthers’ Pit when Joe Meyer hit the game winning trey at the buzzer.

Monticello junior captain Rob Riley had 20 points in the game. This late shot, taken while the Monties had a one-point lead, missed its mark and Cardona followed up with his fifth three to put the Dawgs ahead for good.