GRAHAMSVILLE, NY — To show forbearance is to evince restraint and patience in the face of a difficult situation. And forbearance was what many Tri-Valley Bears had to marshal during the fall, in particular those members of the football team that endured a 0-9 season. Nevertheless, right to the end of that winless campaign, John Rusin’s gritty squad never relinquished one iota of determination and grit.
For the girls soccer team under the savvy watch of Coach Mary Feusner, there were a few wins, but the season was surely daunting as well. The boys soccer team improved greatly but still failed to make sectionals. But now that winter is here, that forbearance has paid off as some of the same athletes of both genders have taken to the hardwood to foster a blazing start to the hoops season.
With their latest non-league wins coming against Chapel Field, the girls and boys improved to 4-0 and 3-0 respectively. While it’s too early in the season to make any predictions about sectionals and title runs, it is manifest from this seasoned writer’s perspective that T-V will be a big part of the postseason story in both boys and girls basketball. Upcoming league play will surely shed more light on the situation. With former rivals Millbrook, Fallsburg and Rhinebeck all moved up to Class B, the girls C-scape is populated by Tri-Valley, Chester, Tuxedo and S.S. Seward. Last year Tri-Valley lost a heartrending 45-42 overtime game to Chester in the semifinals on a last minute three-point shot by Lady Hambletonian Kathryn Jankelunas. The Lady Bears ended their season at 14-6. Coach John Tenbus has since turned over the reins to Jason Closs who has not missed a beat in preparing the Lady Bears for another title run. Led by senior Katlynn Greffrath, who scored 30 points in this week’s 66-26 win over the Lady Lions of Chapel Field, the team features a cadre of veterans including juniors Caroline Martin, Sabrena Smith and seniors Colleen Jones and Ashley Exner. The addition of former J.V. standouts Sara Dertinger and Danielle Shafarsky give the team great bench depth abetted by a promising newcomer in tall tree Kayla Butler. Thus far the Lady Bears have steamrolled Ellenville, Eldred, Livingston Manor and Chapel Field. Up next is the daunting task of Class AA Minisink Valley in the O’Neil tournament. The Lady Bears lost to the Lady Warriors last year before stunning O’Neill in the consolation game.
On the boys side of the ledger, T-V bested Oxford in the opening round of the Walton tournament, easily handled Livingston Manor and then beat Chapel Field 64-50. This year’s Bears team, overseen by veteran coach Brian Tingley, is quick and aggressive on defense. They have size and speed as well as veterans like big men Alex Brown and Devin Donnelly inside, along with senior guard Justin Swarthout who led the way with 16 points against the Lions. With other fine guards in Sam Tingley, Jarrett James, Dontae Brock, Dion Lynch, along with veteran forward Jesus Lozada and former J.V standout Zach Nilsen, the Bears are deep. A pair of league games against Tuxedo and S.S. Seward this week should be more revealing. T-V lost to Pine Plains in the Class C semifinals last year. The Bombers went on to demolish Seward for the title, but with the exit of superstar Tyler Lydon, Pine Plains will come back to earth this year though they will likely still be in the mix when the C-wars begin in earnest in late February. Monticello (2-1) lost the championship game of the Lake Region Tip Off Classic to Wallenpaupack by the score of 48-44 despite leading most of the way. Sha-Shawn Drayton was named to the All Tournament Team. Up next for the Panthers are a pair of crucial league games vs. Goshen and Cornwall.