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Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo

MONTICELLO'S RICKIE VILLEGAS drives to the basket.

A Look at the Panthers'
Basketball Season

By Frank Rizzo
March 30, 2001:
Season Record:

14–6 overall, 10–3 OCIAA Division III; lost to Cornwall 78-75 in Class B quarterfinal
Starting Lineup:
Forward – Richie Fello
Forward – Chris Robinson
Center – John DeGroat
Guard – Rickie Villegas
Guard – Phil Stewart
Season Highlights:
“Our Kingston win,” said coach Dick O’Neill without hesitation. The Panthers shocked Kingston 69-62 on January 22 when the Tigers were considered the best team in Section IX. “Also, the big win for my 300th [varsity coaching victory]. Not because it was my 300th but we played very well.” The coach reached his milestone on February 13 with his team’s 66-50 triumph over archrival James I. O’Neill.
Biggest Disappointment:
“Nothing… there was nothing to be disappointed about,” said O’Neill.
Statistical Leaders:
John DeGroat averaged 18.1 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting 69 percent from the field. Point guard Rickie Villegas scored 14 points per game and dished out three assists per game. He also paced the panthers with 48 three-pointers, making 33.8 percent of his attempts. Chris Robinson contributed 10.3 ppg and about five rebounds per game.
MVP/Most Improved:
O’Neill said he does not choose an MVP. He named Villegas his most improved player, noting that he had become “a consistent offensive force.”

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