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Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo

EYES ON THE HOOP: Eldred’s Steve Milisauskas (25) leaps toward the net as Jeff-Youngsville’s Alex Van Loon and Scott Ruppert (32) try to defend in Friday’s game.

By Frank Rizzo
ELDRED — February 15, 2000 -- Eldred may not be a contender, but it has assumed the role of a spoiler as the Western Sullivan League (WSL) boys’ basketball season winds down.
On Friday, the host Yellow Jackets knocked off co-leader Jeff-Youngsville 43-40 to keep the WSL race close; not too far away, Tri-Valley was losing in Narrowsburg (see related story, standings on this page).
A week before, Tri-Valley came to the Warnke Gym and barely won, 44-42; it took a shot by Michael Stephenson with four seconds left to beat Eldred and keep the Bears in first place.
Friday’s game saw the hosts jump out 9-0 after 2:10 of play.
“That 9-0 lead was a pleasant surprise, but I knew it would change,” said Eldred coach Charlie Donnelly.
Just as quickly, the Trojans recovered, going ahead 10-9 by quarter’s end. A free throw by Steve Milisauskas at 5:47 of the second period broke the drought for Eldred, but J-Y found the basket friendly.
A 3-pointer by Craig Corigliano at 3:48 and a free throw by Chris Rodriguez put the visitors ahead 21-12 with 2:19 left.
“At that point we were in need of a charge,” Donnelly reflected afterward. “There’s no question we were struggling. Then we picked up five points, which was extremely important to our confidence.”
Eldred’s Wayne Timan drained a 3-pointer to redeem his four straight misses at the foul line. Then, with the clock showinng 10 seconds, center Jason Rondenelli converted an airball to make it a 21-17 game at the break.
Rondenelli’s two free throws with 5:00 left in the third regained the lead for the home team, 23-21.
The teams slogged through the remaining regulation time with five ties and five lead changes.
With 1:22 left Rondenelli was isolated for one of his favorite shots: a turn around short jumper from the corner. The ball evaded the outstretched fingertips of J-Y center Alex Van Loon and fell through.
Twenty-seven seconds later J-Y’s Scott Ruppert made a nice move along the baseline to tie the game at 37 apiece.
Both teams missed their last regulation field goal attempts, with Rondenelli’s spinning out.
In the overtime, Timan and Corigliano exchanged 3-pointers, then neither team was able to score until Timan stole an inbound pass and made a lay-up with 1:13 left.
As the clock wound down the teams exchanged steals, and J-Y called time with 15 seconds left to set up a final play.
Corigliano attempted a shot from the corner, and missed.
Rondenelli grabbed the ball and was fouled by Rodriguez with nine seconds showing. The center then made one of two on the bonus situation to complete the scoring and clinch the win.
Rondenelli led all scorers with 15. Ryan Jasper had 11 and Timan eight for the Yellow Jackets.
Jed Saul and Corigliano had 10 each for the Trojans, while Van Loon added seven.
“(The game) was what I expected,” said J-Y coach Rick Ellison. “You could see it coming. Eldred pushed Tri-Valley to the limit and is playing the best ball of the season.”
Aside from Eldred’s play, the reasons for defeat, according to Ellison, were that “we missed a lot of easy shots and free throws.”
Ellison noted that Eldred “contested everything inside. They have quick leapers underneath, and forced us to shoot from the perimeter — and we weren’t getting the outside shots.”
Ellison downplayed the thought of a playoff against Tri-Valley (both teams are 9–2 in league play), noting the Trojans still have to play Livingston Manor and the Family on the road, and host an improved Delaware Valley team at home.
“For us to beat a team like Jeff-Youngsville is something to be proud of,” Donnelly said. “Both the team and the coaching is top of the line. To stay even with them is rewarding, and to win is totally unexpected.”

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