By Frank Rizzo
MONTICELLO January 19, 2001 The expectation of a close game between visiting Liberty and Monticello was fulfilled for part of Wednesdays Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division III girls game on Wednesday.
Chelsea LaGattuta scored from underneath her basket at the 5:26 mark of the second quarter to complete a 9-0 Liberty run and make the score 14-13.
Thirty-six seconds later Cindy Jessup connected from long range to break a 6:14 Monticello drought and started a 15-0 surge by the Lady Panthers which put the game out of reach.
Playing what coach Karen Atack called our best game of the year, the host Monties rolled to a 65-31 win.
Our offense was on, our defense was on, and so was our rebounding it was the first game we really produced, Atack noted.
Monticello dominated the boards, led by Brady Dollard (17 rebounds) and Deirdre Smith (11 boards) both season highs.
Smith also had her best game of the season, netting 31 points (previous high: 28), with 18 coming in the second half.
We started out sluggish, said Liberty coach Ted Crowley. We turned the ball over five of the first six possessions, but we clawed our way back. When we ran the press break correctly we got the looks.
Crowley thought the presence of Latisha Fields and Melissa Arevalo two of last years starters whove been hurt and seen limited play so far in the lineup enabled his team to close the gap.
I was disappointed with our energy, Crowley said. We needed to be more assertive and aggressive. In the second half we started to play better, but so did Monticello. They got the ball in to D (Smith) and she had a field day.
Crowley coaches a young crew two seniors, seven sophomores and one freshman.
We executed a couple of plays beautifully on offense, Crowley praised. (But) were young. Sometimes we take steps back.
Atack had just seven players dressed for the game, and Dollard and Smith had to play every minute. She praised the play of Shannon Dietrich, who got a starting role on Wednesday.
Shannon helped out on the fast break with some fantastic passes, Atack said.
Atack hopes to have Kim Donohue back from an injury soon. The junior will provide height and experience.
Kim can rebound and defend and has speed, shes fast, Atack said of Donohues potential contribution.
Besides Smiths 31, Dollard (16) and Jessup (10) also reached double figures for the Panthers.
Andrea TerBush sank two three-pointers and led Liberty with 12. Christine Waryha had seven points, including one three-pointer.