By Frank Rizzo
GRAHAMSVILLE December 5, 2000 Liberty put together a pair of comeback wins to take its second straight Tri-Valley Boys Basketball Tournament win on Saturday afternoon.
The Indians downed host Tri-Valley 60-53 in the championship game and that outcome seemed unlikely with just over three minutes left in the third.
Thats when T-V center Durk Pearston scored from close in to put the Bears up 46-30. A 3-pointer by Chris Winters capped a 10-2 Liberty run to put the visitors within 48-40 at the buzzer.
Liberty dominated the fourth quarter, knotting the contest at 53-53 when Jose Valentin penetrated the lane with 2:16 left.
A bucket by Winters with 1:38 to go put the Indians ahead for good.
T-V led 20-15 after one and 32-26 at the half before dominating the third quarter with an aggressive trapping press.
When we got up by 16 I took the press off. I wanted to change the tempo. Maybe it was a mistake on my part, admitted second year T-V coach Jason Semo.
Give Liberty credit. They stayed together, stayed under control, Semo added. I heard one of their players say, Lets chip away at this when they were down. Thats the right attitude.
Semo also cited a couple of important shots by Winters in changing the momentum of the game.
We started chipping away, using the bench to spell our starters for a minute or two, and I think that wore [Tri-Valley] down, said Liberty coach Ed Riente. We also started controlling the boards and stopped turning the ball over.
Riente praised his squad as Hard workers. They look for others, play as a team.
Travis Emery led Liberty with 17 points (seven from the foul line) and nine rebounds and copped the tourney MVP award. Liberty point guard Mike Poje joined him on the all-tourney squad, along with Defensive Player of the Tournament Durk Pearston (T-V), Josh Lowitz (T-V), Dan Cavanaugh (Ellenville), and Bruce Nober (Narrowsburg).
Winters added 17 points and five steals in the championship game while Poje had seven points.
Lowitz paced the Bears with 13 points and four steals while Pearston had 11 points eight rebounds three steals. James Paul (eight), and Kyle Humphrey and Bill Gorman (seven each) also contributed. Lowitz was a perfect 3-for3 from two-point territory and 2-for-2 from the three-point line.
Consolation and More
Narrowsburg jumped out to an 18-4 first quarter lead and cruised to an 80-39 win over Ellenville (which reportedly was playing without three starters).
The Indians, who led 43-8 at the half, were led by Bruce Nobers 31. Ken Emeigh added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Others contributing were Evan Kraack (12 points), Dave Curreri (nine points) and Chad Powell (eight points, 10 rebounds, and seven blocked shots).
In the opening round, Narrowsburg enjoyed a 10-point second-half lead over Liberty before losing 68-57.
Nober got into major foul trouble and had to sit for six or seven minutes, and that hurt, said Narrowsburg coach Cliff Kelly.
According to Kelly, Narrowsburg was down by two with 42 seconds left but was unable to tie and Liberty converted on several buckets and free throws to pull away.
Nober had 31 and Powell 17 to lead Narrowsburg against Liberty, which was led by Emery (20), Winters (18), and Nick Yaun (10).
In the other opening round game Tri-Valley extended a slim halftime lead by outscoring Ellenville 19-12 in the second half to win 46-35.
Lowitz (14), Pearston (12), and Paul (nine) led the Bears.
Tri-Valley and Liberty are slated to meet in the first round of the Sullivan County CC Holiday Tournament on December 29.
It will be a great rematch, Semo promised.