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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

ANTHONY CARPENTIERI OF John S. Burke (31) is in front of Monticello’s Ed Motl as they chase the ball in Wednesday night’s game. Also looking on are John DeGroat (21) and Sammie McGinnis (24) of the Panthers.

Panthers Crush Burke

By Frank Rizzo
MONTICELLO — December 22, 2000 – The long December continued for Monticello boys’ basketball coach Dick O’Neill’s former protege, and O’Neill’s squad added to Kevin Bach’s gray hairs.
The Panthers overcame a slow start to crush John S. Burke Catholic 85-65 in Wednesday’s Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division III game.
“In my 23 years I’ve never had a team lose three straight games… or go winless in December,” explained Bach, who assisted O’Neill at Burke before taking over the reins in 1985.
The win evened the Monties’ record to 2–2 (1–0 Division III) while dropping the Eagles to 0–5 (0–1 Division III).
Burke had Monticello reeling a couple of times in the first half. A pair of three-pointers by Scott Granwehr highlighted a 10-0 Eagle run to put the visitors ahead 14-8.
In this stretch, Burke managed to stifle Monticello’s center and offensive focus, John DeGroat.
The Panthers responded with 10 straight to end the stanza, and Sammie McGinnis sparked the run with a pair of three-pointers and a layup off a pass from Phil Stewart.
The guests overcame a seven-point deficit to take their last lead with 2:4 left, when Brian Fedish scored uncontested on a nicely-executed throw-in. That put Burke ahead 30-29, the last lead it would hold.
McGinnis quickly responded for the Monties, sinking a jumper which started a 15-2 surge that put the hosts ahead 44-32 at the half.
The senior continued his hot hand at the start of the third, draining a pair of threes to give Monticello a 50-32 cushion.
“Sammie gave us a lift,” O’Neill noted. “And those two three-pointers put us from 12-up to 18-up and relaxed us. We started playing better after that.”
Soon after the lead reached 79-50, O’Neill cleared his bench.
“We played very well offensively, but defensively we have a way to go,” O’Neill summed up. “I wasn’t happy with our defense.”
After 32 years of coaching, O’Neill reflected, “I can tell when kids are ready to play, and we weren’t. We didn’t start out with focus and intensity.”
Glancing at the stat sheet, O’Neill noted that Burke “had nine offensive rebounds in the first half, and that’s unacceptable.”
Bach also made note of his team’s success on the offensive glass, but added: “We did not sustain that, and since we have a small team we have to be more consistent.
“We’re young and inexperienced, and learning how to play on the varsity level,” he added.
Asked to name the favorites in Division III, Bach cited Monticello and Cornwall.
O’Neill was more cautious, saying he has not seen most of the teams in his division yet.
“Our chances are pretty good. I expect the division to be balanced,” O’Neill said.
Notes: McGinnis had a career high 23 points and sank four three-pointers while adding six steals… DeGroat finished with 19, seven coming in the third quarter, and added 11 rebounds (six on the offensive glass)… Rickie Villegas sank three three-pointers and finished with 15, eight of them coming in the fourth. He added six assists and five rebounds… Chris Robinson was a spark off the bench, netting 11 and dishing out eight assists… Phil Stewart had four assists while Rich Fello grabbed six rebounds… Anthony Carpentieri (15) and Granwehr (11) scored in double figures for Burke.

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