By Rob Potter
JEFFERSONVILLE December 26, 2000 The calendar may have read December 21, but the atmosphere at the boys basketball game last Thursday night in Jeffersonville made it seem more like February or even March.
A large and spirited crowd watched former Western Sullivan League rivals Tri-Valley and Sullivan West/Jeffersonville-Youngsville tangle in each squads debut in Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV play. The contest swung back and forth like a seesaw, as each team claimed several leads ranging between two and 10 points only to see the other squad come back and regain the advantage.
In the end, the host Trojans outlasted the Bears by a 54-45 margin.
Its TV-Jeff, thats the kind of games we have, Tri-Valley coach Jason Semo said. In the first quarter we had them, then they got us in the second quarter, we went up in the third quarter and they took the fourth quarter.
When Tri-Valley grabbed an early 10-2 lead in the first quarter, it looked as though the contest would be one-sided. But as Semo pointed out, SW/J-Y (40, 10 Division IV) rebounded in the second period.
The Trojans outscored the Bears 11-3 in those eight minutes.
That second quarter killed us, Semo said. You cant win by scoring only three points in a quarter. Jeff did a great job in that quarter.
Tri-Valley (22, 01 Division IV) surged back ahead in the third period behind the offense of guard Josh Lowitz. He netted a three-pointer and layup in a ten-second span to give the Bears a 30-24 lead midway through the period.
But in the fourth quarter, SW/J-Y benefitted from clutch foul shooting and the play of senior forward Gregg Semenetz. After missing two games with a back injury, Semenetz came off the Trojan bench and scored a game-high 22 points.
A three-point bomb by Semenetz with 5:20 remaining broke a 39-39 tie and gave the Trojans a lead which they did not lose in the final minutes.
It was a physical game and we knew it would be, SW/J-Y co-coach Bob Menges said. We came out a little sluggish since it had been 10 days since we had played a game. But we got a lot of help from our bench tonight. We were able to play a lot of guys and that was a big key to our success.
Menges and fellow co-coach Rick Ellison also noted that the Trojans edge at the foul line was another key to the victory. While Tri-Valley was 7-for-13 from the charity stripe, SW/J-Y shot 11-of-15 at the line.
The Trojans also benefitted from halftime adjustments.
Our defensive effort wasnt there at the start of the game, but it kicked in later, Ellison commented. In the second half we were able to pressure the ball more and limit the number of their shots.
We rebounded much better in the second half, Menges said.
In addition to Semenetz, Jonathan Tanous reached double figures for the Trojans. Tanous finished with 10 points, while Alex Van Loon added eight points.
Lowitz, who netted all 14 of his points in the second half, led the Bear offensive attack. Teammate Kyle Humphrey scored 12 points, nine of which came on shots from beyond the three-point arc.
We came from behind tonight and that was a real positive, Ellison said.
Our kids played hard and it was a good win for us, Menges added.