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Indians Take Lead

Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo

NARROWSBURG'S CHAD POWELL seems to have a handle on the ball as Roscoe’s Brandon Cheek also reaches for it in Friday’s game.

Beat Roscoe, Improve to 4–0

By Frank Rizzo
NARROWSBURG—January 16, 2001 - One thought comforted Roscoe boys’ basketball coach Fred Ahart after his charges had lost yet another game on Narrowsburg’s small gym, 70-58 to the host Indians on Friday.
“We don’t have to worry about playing here again,” Ahart smiled, making reference to the tri-school merger which folds Narrowsburg into the larger Sullivan West centralized district.
Presumably, the combined team will be playing its home games at the Jeff-Youngsville campus’ large 1994 gym until the new high school is built.
The Narrowsburg court — probably the smallest in Section IX — proved to be, as always, the Indians’ “sixth man” in the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division V game.
At the start of the second quarter, holding a slim 11-10 lead, Narrowsburg coach Cliff Kelly took advantage of the absence of Roscoe point guard Brian Ballard and center Brian Bury (both out with foul trouble) to institute a devastatingly effective trapping press. The result was a 16-0 run to give the hosts a 26-10 cushion within the first three minutes of the quarter.
Ballard and Bury returned to change things around for the Blue Devils. Bury scored 10 points in the quarter, all of them close-in, and helped the visitors cut Narrowsburg’s halftime lead to 32-25.
Narrowsburg widened the gap early in the third, but the Blue Devils persisted, and with 3:52 left Shawn Hendrickson drained a three-pointer to pull the guests even, 41-41.
One minute later Brandon Cheek scored from deep in the corner to give Roscoe its last lead, 45-43.
Bruce Nober, who netted 11 of his 26 points in the third, then scored six of Narrowsburg’s points in an 11-0 run which gave the hosts a 54-45 lead at the buzzer.
Once again, the press paid off as the Indians literally stole their way to victory.
Narrowsburg continued its press in the fourth, building up a 64-49 lead as Chad Powell sank a three-pointer with 3:18 left, effectively putting the game out of reach.
Kelly’s concern was Roscoe’s size and rebounding.
“I knew they were big and strong,” Kelly noted. “I saw how they pounded the boards against Chester. They lost, but they dominated the boards. I also knew Bury has a good inside game.”
Though official stats were not available, it was safe to say the Indians held their own on the glass, especially around their own net, putting up two or three shots at a time.
“We certainly turned it over too many times against the press — that was the key,” Ahart said. “We’re usually good against the press, but with [Ballard and Bury] out it hurt us. But give Narrowsburg credit. They did a good job with the press.”
Regarding the place of Friday’s game in the scheme of the season, Kelly said, “They’re all big games.”
Ahart commented, “It’s still early. We certainly plan on bouncing back. We proved we could play with Narrowsburg. Next time we need to play four quarters.”
Nober led all scorers with 26 points, getting help from Mike Cookingham (14), Powell (13), and Evan Kraack (eight).
Bury’s 25 paced the Blue Devils. Curtis Schwarz added 10, while Ballard (nine) and Hendrickson (eight) also contributed.
Roscoe was 7/8 from the free throw line while Narrowsburg was 11/17.
Notes: We “looked it up”: The last time Roscoe beat the Indians in Narrowsburg was on February 2, 1998. Before that the Blue Devils’ last win in the bandbox-sized gym had come on January 8, 1992.

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