By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR December 21, 2001 Tuxedo grabbed the lead early in the opening quarter of Wednesday nights non-league boys basketball game versus Livingston Manor.
Unfortunately for the host Wildcats and their fans, the lead was one that Tuxedo would not relinquish.
Although Manor (1-4) made a couple of scoring runs to narrow the gap, Tuxedo managed to hold onto at least a working margin throughout the contest. As a result, Tuxedo won the non-league game, 74-52.
In fact, the only lead the Wildcats enjoyed all night came 30 seconds into the contest. John Schleiermacher scored inside to give Manor a quick 2-0 lead.
But Tuxedo answered immediately. After tying the contest, Greg Rohlfs swished a three-point shot to give the Tornadoes a 5-2 lead with 6:45 left in the first period.
For the remainder of that opening quarter, Rohlfs and teammate Seth Caridi keyed a 14-7 Tuxedo scoring run. That outburst gave the Tornadoes a 19-9 advantage at the start of the second quarter.
Tuxedo (2-1) boosted its lead to 16 points at the half.
I think we played good defense tonight, Tuxedo Coach Joe DiMattina said. Our objective was to stop penetration in the lane and force them to settle for outside shots. And I think we did a good job of doing that, with both our man-to-man defense and our zone press [defense].
DiMattina added that the Tornadoes tried to focus their defensive efforts on Manors Jason Kean, whom he noted was a great shooter.
We knew about him, but we didnt know much about [Manor forward George] Thomas, DiMattina said. He had a nice game inside.
In the second half, Manor was able to narrow the Tuxedo lead. But the Wildcats could not close the gap to single digits.
We made a little run there and got it down to 11 [points], Manor Coach Les Hyde said. We tried, but just couldnt get over the hump.
Hyde also noted that Tuxedo played well in two key areas of the game.
They beat us on the boards and they shot well, he said. Theyre a good shooting team and they just outrebounded us tonight.
The Tornadoes shot well because they were taking a great deal of shots close to the basket.
We only hit a few outside shots tonight, most of our points came in the paint, DiMattina commented. And thats good because it meant that we were taking a lot of high percentage shots.
Not surprisingly, Caridi and Rohlfs who started Tuxedos first quarter scoring run finshed the night as the Tornadoes top two scorers. Caridi poured in a game-high 28 points, while Rohlfs netted 17.
Austin Hoffman added 12 points for Tuxedo.
Manor was paced offensively by Kean, who scored 19 points. Thomas finished with 12 points for the Wildcats.
Despite the loss, which he noted gave the Wildcats a tough 1-4 record, Hyde was happy with his squads effort.
They got down [on the scoreboard] and could have given up, but they didnt, he said. They played hard all game.
Were getting there, little by little, Hyde added. We have a young team that is working hard and learning more every game.