Liberty Stomps Comets,
Closes on Title
Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo
IN THE PAINT: Libertys Chris Winters leaves Fallsburg defenders Charley Robinson (from the left), Corey Buckner, and Mike Roycroft grounded as he launches a jump shot for two points in Tuesdays game. Teammate Travis Emery (40) watches at left.
By Frank Rizzo
FALLSBURG February 18, 2000 -- The cheering, the stomping, the near-pandemonium continued to the last basket, lending the game a playoff air.
But in truth, the contest was over well before the final buzzer.
Liberty met another challenge on Tuesday, routing neighboring rival Fallsburg 75-46 to maintain a solid hold on the Orange County League (OCL) National Conference Division II lead.
The Indians, at 111 in league play, lead Fallsburg (92) and S.S. Seward (93) and are one game away from clinching at least a tie for the league title.
They traveled to Sugar Loaf last night, too late for inclusion here. They close out the league schedule at home against Chapel Field next Wednesday.
The previous Thursday, the Indians had dispatched Seward 79-55 to amend for their only league loss two days before 55-54 at the buzzer, to Tuxedo.
On Tuesday, the closest the host Comets got after the first quarter was at 4:22 of the second stanza, when center Charley Robinson sank a pair of free throws to make a 20-18 game in Libertys favor.
In the time remaining before the break, Fallsburg had several good looks at the hoop, but the rim was not in its favor that night, and the Indians closed out with an 8-2 run to open some daylight.
Tim Gilmore, Fallsburgs leading scorer, opened the third quarter with a steal and an authoritative move over Libertys 6-foot-8 center, Travis Emery.
That made the score 28-22, and after that the Indians regained control, running off nine straight points and keeping Fallsburg off the board until the halfway mark.
By the time the buzzer sounded to end the third, the Indians had a decisive 46-30 lead, and continued to pour it on in the final stanza.
Its a measure of Libertys offensive prowess that it overcame a bad shooting night by leading scorer Chris Sinceno (16 ppg), who shot just 1-for-11.
This was Chris first bad night (on offense), but he played good defense tonight, commented Liberty coach Ed Riente.
Emery had a dominating game with 22 points (on 9/11 shooting) and 14 rebounds (six on the offensive glass).
Jon Tanous shot 10/20 and also netted 22. Evan Mullen made 7-of-12 shots and scored 15.
Mike Poje and Sinceno had four steals, while Poje also dished out five assists.
Gilmore led Fallsburg with 16 hard-earned points, and Corey Buckner scored 15.
Liberty handed Fallsburg its only other league loss, 69-40, back on January 18, and the Comets had won five straight since.
That first game was either an exceptionally bad night for them or a tremendous night for us, or a combination of both, Riente said. Theres something wrong when you can beat Fallsburg that easily.
I think tonight was the same scenario, Riente added. We came out in the first quarter and controlled the tempo. Our defense was super. We shut down their outside game and tightened up inside.
Fallsburg needs to win its remaining games and hope that Liberty loses one, thus forcing a playoff.
The Comet are the defending Division II champs, beating Liberty in a playoff last season.