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Sullivan West/Jeff-Youngsville’s Alex VanLoon, left, watches as teammate Craig Corigliano battles Tri-Valley’s Durk Pearston for a rebound in Thursday’s game.

Trojans Stave Off Tri-Valley

By Ted Waddel
GRAHAMSVILLE —February 6, 2001 - On Groundhog Day, the homestanding Bears of Tri-Valley remained in hibernation despite a strong desire to emerge from their winless Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV burrow, as they were defeated by the Sullivan West/Jeff-Youngsville Trojans 60-54.
Both teams played with a lot of heart and inspiration, but for Tri-Valley (5–7, 0–6 OCIAA) the bounces and a few calls didn’t go its way.
For the Trojans (6-1, 11-3), the game marked the first time in seven-some years they walked off the Tri-Valley court with a “W.”
At the start of Thursday’s game, things looked pretty good for the home team, as Josh Lowitz connected on his first five shots on the way to scoring 14 points in the first half, but in the second half, the Trojans’ defense applied a choke hold that held him to a solo three-pointer.
Even with the second half strangle hold, Lowitz emerged as the game’s leading scorer with 17 points. In the closing minutes, SW/J-Y’s Gregg Semenetz closed the door on the Bears hopes of getting their first league win of the season with a couple of key buckets. With less than two minutes remaining in the hotly contested game, Semenetz got a blazing pass from Jon Tanous and arced it through the net from the three-point line. A few seconds later, he grabbed an offensive rebound and soared beneath the glass for a layup, thus giving his team a critical five points when they really needed it.
“Today wasn’t one of our best games, but we’re improving,” said Semenetz. “Next week, we have to go out and win three big games… we can’t afford to lose any more.”
His take on the 2000-2001 team? “I like it, we all have fun,” said the 18-year-old senior.
Semenetz led his team with 14 points.
The Bears got into foul trouble early, as in the first half the calls didn’t go their way, a factor that allowed the Trojans to step up to the free throw line 13 times. In the opening half, the home team got one free pass to the foul line.
Stats from the foul line: SW/J-Y 10/18 (56 percent); TV 7/8 (88 percent).
In the opening frame, the Trojans jumped out to a 21-14 lead and took a 37-30 edge into the locker room.
In the third quarter, the Bears caused a flurry of excitement in the home team bleachers as they outscored JY 13-8 to close the gap to 45-43.
In the final period, the Trojans battled the boards and hit a couple of key buckets to outscore TV 15-9 to take the game.
Double digit scorers for SW/J-Y: Semenetz (14), Jon Tanous (12) and Alex Van Loon (11).
For TV: Lowitz (17), Kyle Humphrey (14) and Durk Pearston (10).
“I thought both teams played 100 percent,” said Tri-Valley coach Jason Semo. “Each team left every single thing they had out there on the court.”
According to Semo, the game and for that matter the Bears 2000-2001 season of hoops has been a matter of “a bounce here, and a bounce there.”
Noting that five of their last six-pack of losses have been within six points, he added, “Even though we’re 0-6, we’re not a guaranteed win for anybody. We still believe that we’re one of the best teams in Class C.”
For co-coach Rick Ellison and the Trojans, it was a sweet victory, as it reversed their long-standing record of being “Winless in Grahamsville.” “Tri-Valley is the best 0-6 team I’ve ever played against,” he said.
According to Bob Menges, co-coach of the SW/J-Y bucketeers, “While we had some mental lapses defensively throughout the game, we played smart down the stretch. When we needed to make the defensive steps and secure the rebounds, we did.
“On the offensive end, we did a nice job of moving the ball around,” he added. “We got some big buckets from Gregg Semenetz and Alex VanLoon. Both of these guys really stepped up, and on defense, Justin Pinkel did a real good job in the second half shutting down Josh Lowitz.”
Bears End League Slump
On Saturday, Tri-Valley downed visiting Eldred 60-40 to win its first Division IV game. Humphrey paced the Bears with 17 points while Pearston added 15.
Top scorer for Eldred was Joe Scully (15). The Yellow Jackets have lost five straight Division IV games.

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