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Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo

MONTICELLO'S SHANNON DIETRICK (32) and James I. O’Neill’s Katie Donovan scramble for the ball in Thursday night’s game. Watching the action are Monticello’s Deirdre Smith, Brady Dollard (15) and Crystal Forget, visible just behind Dollard.

Monticello Needs to Win Two of
Last Three for Playoffs

By Frank Rizzo
MONTICELLO —February 13, 2001 - A pair of close home losses at the end of last week put pressure on the Monticello Lady Panthers to win two of their remaining three games.
Otherwise, it’s bye, bye sectionals.
Monticello lost to Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division III rivals James I O’Neill (56-51 on Thursday) and Cornwall (59-53 on Saturday) to drop to 7–8 overall and 4–6 in the league.
The Monties traveled to the Family School for a non-league game last night. Results were unavailable at press time.
Next week they have league games on the road against Liberty and John S. Burke to close out the regular season.
“We put ourselves in a bind,” conceded Monticello coach Karen Atack after Saturday’s loss. “We knew it was going to be close [against Cornwall]. We didn’t pull it out at the end.”
Free throw shooting was a factor in both losses. Against O’Neill the Panthers were 8-for-15 from the line; in Saturday’s game the performance dropped to 10/20, with six misses in the fourth quarter.
“You just can’t have foul shooting like that. Turnovers also hurt us,” Atack noted.
Thursday’s game was close throughout, with numerous lead changes and, until the final quarter, no more than five points separating the teams.
The hosts held a 39-38 lead entering the fourth, but the Raiders quickly gained the upper hand, going up 52-43 at the halfway point of the period.
Monticello answered with six straight, capped by a free throw by Deirdre Smith with 1:54 left to make it 52-49.
But consecutive baskets by Desiree Coyle, the second off of a steal, sealed the win for the Raiders.
In the first encounter, on January 9, O’Neill won 58-34 behind Nneka Cruse’s 18 points and 14 rebounds. Cruse is out for the season with an injury and O’Neill coach Jerry Downey thought her absence on Thursday accounted for the closer game.
Still, Downey wasn’t stingy with his credit.
“Monticello did a nice job tonight, they played a nice game, certainly much better than last time,” he said.
“It was a pretty well-matched game,” Atack said. “We handled their halfcourt defense and did a much better job this time with our offensive rebounding.”
Smith led Monticello with 26 points 15 rebounds, three assists, and four steals.
Brady Dollard added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Crystal Forget scored seven points and Cindy Jessup contributed six assists.
Junior Kim Donohue saw limited action, grabbing six rebounds. Unfortunately for Monticello she reinjured her ankle — an injury which has kept her out for most of the season — and will likely miss the rest of the year.
“It’s going to be hard with seven players,” Atack noted.
Smith scored 32 points in Saturday’s loss to Cornwall.
“We weren’t focused, weren’t executing,” Atack said of this game.

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