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Comets Rebuild, Do Well

By Ted Waddell
FALLSBURG — March 24, 2000 -- The Fallsburg Comets boys’ varsity basketball team finished up the 1999-2000 season with a 12-2 record in the OCL, and 12-8 overall.
The season was marked by the absence of last year’s star hoopster, Rodney Rigg.
“Overall, I thought I was going to be looking at a season without Rodney,” said coach Paul Marsden. “It was really a rebuilding year for us, a young team with only Timmy Gilmore returning.”
Fallsburg started off the season less than auspiciously, as they dropped both games of the annual Sullivan County CC Holiday Tournament (the Comets had won the championship trophy the last seven of nine years), and their first two season games.
“After that, we had some questions about what to do,” said Marsden. “Timmy Gilmore realized he didn’t have to do it all by himself, and the rest of the kids picked it up.”
According to Marsden, in his ninth season as varsity coach, he thought he had more depth this year than in the past.
“On any given night, I could run seven or eight guys in,” he said. “The kids picked it up, and if one kid wasn’t playing well, the other guys stepped up.”
During regular season play, the Comets’ only two league losses were to Liberty.
“Our loss to O’Neill in the sectionals (66-47 in the Class C quarterfinal) was a little bit of a disappointment, because we really wanted to go further at that level,” said Marsden. “I think it was unfortunate that we ran into our old nemesis at the sectionals, because we really didn’t get to where we wanted to go.”
Marsden said he considers beating Florida, the defending Class D champs, twice this year highlights of the Comets season.
“In our game against Florida at their house, we were down by six, and came back to win,” he said. “With fifteen seconds left, Charlie Robinson hit a 3-pointer to tie it up. Florida managed to sink one of two foul shots to go ahead, but then we got the ball with 6.6-seconds left. Omar Valree dribbled the ball down, passed off to Corey Buckner who then sent up a floater from the lane just as the buzzer went off, and the ball went through.”
This year, it was the “Season without Rodney Rigg,” while the 2000-2001 season could be called the “Year without Timmy Gilmore,” as the senior will be graduating after three years of playing varsity basketball at Fallsburg.
As a varsity hoopster, Gilmore racked up 904 career points and 392 rebounds (14.1 average points per game, and 6.1 rebounds per outing).
Along with Gilmore, the Comets will be losing Corey Buckner, Mike Roycroft and Omar Valree to graduation.
Returning are Donald Frasier, Charles Hinton, Darren Kenny, Steve Nickalados and Charles Robinson. Coming up next year from jayvee are Jesse Hinton, Jon Hinton and Brooks Whitaker. The Fallsburg JV squad finished their season 14-2.
“We’ve also got a couple of kids on the varsity who had limited playing time this year, but hopefully will get their acts together and come out strong next season,” said Marsden.
“I’m waiting for that 6'-10" kid to fall into my lap to take the rebounds, and that shooting guard to come up from New York City,” he added jokingly.
While acknowledging Gilmore’s loss will “be an impact” on next year’s season, Marsden said, “I think we’re going to be very competitive next year. Liberty and O’Neill are moving up to Class B, so we’ll see them in the league, but not the sectionals, and I understand that Spackenkill, a big powerhouse, will be moving down to Class C where we are. So we’ll see what happens.”
Marsden assesses his athletes:
*Tim Gilmore (16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds per game): Picked as Fallsburg’s MVP and led the Comets in points per game and rebounds. “I can’t find anybody who had more heart and drive to win, and play the game competitively than this kid, no matter what sport you’re talking about: basketball, soccer or baseball… he gives you 200-percent… a great competitor and a good kid.”
*Donald Frasier (7 points, 2.6 rebounds per game): “Came up from jayvee last year, so it took him a little while to acclimatize to the difference in play… did a very good job… started to take control… very pleased with his development.”
*Charles Hinton (6.8 points, 4.6 rebounds per game): Missed the final six games after an injury. “Charles gave me everything I wanted...played good defense… he’s not very big, but he can jump out of the sky.”
*Charlie Robinson (6.4 points, 7.6 rebounds per game): “Did a good job as center, but needs to get a little stronger… had a nice shot and developed it through the season… expecting big things from him next year.”
*Mike Roycroft (2.6 points, 4.4 rebounds per game): Selected as the Comets “Most Improved” hoopster. “Did a great job...didn’t give me much offense, but worked hard on defense… in some games, he really stepped up and got the rebounds, and worked hard at boxing out.”

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