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Indians Stopped

Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo

BASELINE'S OPEN: Mike Poje of Liberty drives past Pleasantville’s Dan Zane (50) for two points in Tuesday’s game. Looking on is Travis Emery (40).

Liberty Falls in State Opener

By Frank Rizzo
NEW ROCHELLE — March 10, 2000 -- The “3” associated with Liberty guard Chris Sinceno is usually a 3-point bucket.
On Tuesday night, three was the number of fouls Sinceno drew in the opening half of the state boys’ basketball opening round game.
Sinceno’s problems were symptomatic of the generally poor night the Indians experienced, as they fell to Section I champ Pleasantville, 57-44, at Iona College in New Rochelle.
Pleasantville will face the Long Island Class C champion in the Region I final tonight in Marist College in Poughkeepsie. The winner will advance to the state final four next weekend at Glens Falls.
Despite poor shooting, the Indians trailed just 27-18 at the half, with nine of those points coming from Evan Mullen.
In the second half Mullen had to take over for Sinceno in covering Kyl Jones, Pleasantville’s main scoring threat (14 points at halftime) and his offensive production dropped.
Back-to-back buckets by Sinceno and Jon Tanous to start the third put hope back on the Liberty’s side of the gym.
A corner jumper by Tanous with 2:47 left in the third got Liberty to within 31-29.
But Jones answered from the 3-point arc, and then, after a rare Sinceno airball, grabbed the hoop and threw an outlet to Brian Sondey for a lay-up and a 36-29 lead.
Pleasantville was up 39-31 at the buzzer.
Liberty’s production dropped precipitously in the final stanza; a pair of free throws by Tanous and a baseline drive by Mike Poje were all the Indians could manage in the first 6:59.
There was little Liberty could do but foul, and Pleasantville made 11-of-15 from the line in the fourth quarter.
On the game, the Panthers made 20-of-27 from the stripe, while Liberty went 8/12.
“They killed us inside,” said Liberty coach Ed Riente. “Taking a guess, they must have outrebounded us 5-1. They were getting a lot of putbacks.”
Glenn Jensen guided the Panthers to their first sectional title since 1992.
“We saw Liberty against Cornwall (on February 27) and had a pretty good idea of what they had,” Jensen said. “Defensively, we had to put pressure on them, take away the lanes, stop their attacking the basket off the dribble, and get out on (Sinceno) with his jump shot.”
What Millbrook had partially done in Sunday’s Section IX —Class C final — take away the middle and keep Liberty to one shot — Pleasantville did even better on Tuesday.
“They played good defense,” Riente admitted. “Also, we were taking poor shots and weren’t patient.”
Tanous and Mullen led Liberty (20–3) with 13 points each. Sinceno added 10 while center Travis Emery had six points, nine rebounds, and five blocked shots.
According to the Liberty stat sheet, its starting five shot a combined 17-for-57 (29.8 percent) on the game.
Jones led Pleasantville (19–4) with 23 points.

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