Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

JEN ACKERMANN OF Sullivan West grabs a rebound between Liberty’s Keely Hamlin, left, and Chelsea LaGattuta.

Lady Bulldogs
Crush Liberty

By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE — January 4, 2002 – In last Saturday’s girls’ championship game of the fourth annual Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Holiday Tournament, the Lady Bulldogs of Sullivan West pounded Liberty’s Lady Indians, 59-14.
Everyone likes a winner, except if you’re on the losing side.
And for Lady Bulldogs Coach Ron Bernhardt and his team, that poses a problem. At almost every halftime and certainly after every game, he is accosted by parents from other teams who charge him with running up the score.
According to Bernhardt, that’s getting a bit hard to take – his team continues to jump out to early leads, and he starts rotating players off the bench to even out the score. But on the other hand, he doesn’t want to take the fire out of a team that remains unbeaten.
In Saturday’s lopsided win over Liberty (2-5), he began pulling out starters after the Lady Bulldogs racked up a 39-8 lead at the half. In the third period, Sullivan West outscored the Lady Indians 15-0, and in the final frame was even, as both squads scored six points.
Sullivan West (6-0) had two players reach double digits in the scoring column. Junior center Tiffany Hauser netted 14 points and senior forward Aileen Semenetz added 12 points.
Semenetz, who also tallied six assists and made three steals, was chosen as the MVP in the four-team girls’ tournament.
“She’s the key to our defense,” said Bernhardt.
For the Lady Indians, top point scoring honors were shared by Keely Hamlin and Jamie Hopkins. Each player netted four points in the contest.
At the free throw line, things were pretty quiet as each team attempted only two foul shots.
“Calling it a game is being very charitable,” said veteran Liberty Coach Ted Crowley. “We didn’t challenge them in any way.
“I went into the game thinking we could take away a couple of their options on offense and defense, but we just didn’t do it.”
Crowley further praised the skill and teamwork of the Lady Bulldog squad.
“Sullivan West is a talented team,” Crowley explained. “The team is very deep and very skilled, and they have a mental discipline. If any one of the girls is down, there is a tremendous support system within the players . . . they pick the person up and keep going.”
Looking for positive performances by his own players, Crowley said Keely Hamlin “did a pretty good job for us on the boards” and that Andrea TerBush “did a decent job of running the offense . . . without staying up to help keep things going, it would have been a lot worse than it was.”
Bernhardt said he thought the game went “extremely well,” but it’s hard to keep up the momentum and stay focused on the game of hoops.
“Our goal is to play as well as we can, but it’s been difficult to keep the magic going,” he said. “When you’re up, it’s human nature to let down.”
He described the Lady Bulldogs as a “special team.” The squad has seven seniors, five of whom have been playing on the varsity level for three years, and the other two have been playing for four years.
“For the seniors, it’s a last hurrah, and for the (merged) district it’s a first hurrah,” added Bernhardt. “We’ve played fifty games together over the last couple of summers, so we’ve paid our dues.”

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