By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE August 14, 2001 Sullivan West made it a clean sweep last Tuesday night at Sullivan County Community Colleges Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.
The Sullivan West girls team cruised to 59-25 win over Ellenville in the championship game of the SCCC High School Summer Basketball League. Then the SW boys squad claimed the boys division title with a 54-47 win over Fallsburg.
In their victory, the SW boys demonstrated that whether it is playoff game in March or a summer league contest in August, shooting free throws successfully is always important.
The Bulldogs made six of 10 foul shots in the final minute of play to preserve the win.
After a close first half, SW built a small lead in the opening minutes of the second half. Two free throws by Mike Ahnstrom with 13:58 remaining gave SW its biggest lead of the night, 37-28.
But Fallsburg went on a 10-0 run over the next two minutes to close the gap. A three-point shot by Lionel White cut the SW lead to a single point, 39-38.
Two successful free throws by Ahnstrom and an Evan Kraack three-pointer on their next two possessions gave the Bulldogs a six-point cushion.
Sullivan West played a great game, they played the game they needed to play, Fallsburg coach Les Hyde said. But Im really proud of our guys. We made it to the finals and almost won.
In addition to praising his team members, Hyde noted the help of the squads sponsors all summer. Those sponsors include Ds Coffee Shop in South Fallsburg, Fallsburg Lumber and the Mobil Mini Mart in Woodbourne.
The win was a bit more satisfying for SW coach George Rose and his team, since Fallsburg had won both meetings between the teams in the summer leagues regular season.
We practiced last night and it showed tonight, Rose said. But the big thing is that we played together.
Rose was quick to praise the summer league and its director, Bryan Bury.
Its a nice program, Rose said. Bryan and everyone else here at the college work hard to make it a good league.
The leading scorers for SW were Ahnstrom (17 points) and Justin Pinkel (12 points), while the Fallsburg offense was paced by Zuquan Hillard (14 points) and White (12 points).
In the girls championship game, SW grabbed an early lead and maintained it throughout the game.
An opportunistic defense that led to steals and subsequent layups combined with several inside baskets by center Tiffany Hauser helped SW open up a double-digit advantage in the first eight minutes of the game.
Following the halftime break, the Ellenville defense closed in and the SW guards began launching several outside shots and converting many of them. Those successful shots allowed SW to more than double its 12-point halftime lead.
Hauser scored a team-high 14 points for SW and Megan Moran added 12 points. Samantha Ellis and Brienne Karow each scored eight points to pace Ellenville.
They just shot very well, Ellenville coach Tom Nolan said. Once they starting hitting those shots, it took us out of the defense we were playing early. They just couldnt miss from the outside and we couldnt make any (outside) shots.
Like Nolan, SW coach Ron Bernhardt noted that shooting was a key factor in the contest.
They were closing in on Hauser and we went back outside, he said. Christina Winski and Calley Sander are both excellent shooters and once they started hitting shots it really opened things up.
Bernhardt also praised his teams defensive effort. He noted the work of Erin Bose and Aileen Semenetz in particular, as they shut down the Ellenville guards.
And the veteran coach was pleased by his teams ability to play together. Between the SCCC Summer League and AAU competition, the team played 29 games this summer.
Now we have a really good idea of what to expect this winter, he said.