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Bulldogs Rip Devils

Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

ROSCOE’S KEITH BUCK grabs a rebound amid a crowd of players during last Friday night’s non-league game. Pictured with Buck are Sullivan West’s E.T. Toledo (right) and Everett Saul along with Roscoe’s Brian Bury (behind Buck) and Timothy Haas.

Sullivan West Routs Roscoe

By Ted Waddell
ROSCOE — January 15, 2002 - For a first year boys’ varsity basketball team, the Bulldogs of Sullivan West aren’t doing badly.
Last Friday, Sullivan West (8-1) faced off against the Blue Devils of Roscoe (5-4), another team that hasn’t played a divisional game yet this season.
At the final buzzer, the Bulldogs proved they were the top dogs of the night as they chewed up the opposition, 86-50, on Roscoe’s trademark small court.
Sullivan West’s Evan Kraack burned up the court with a game-high 27 points and he made seven shots from outside the three-point arc.
“My team was able to get me the ball,” said the 17-year-old senior. “We passed it around and looked for the open shots . . . I had a bunch of three’s and a couple of jump shots, and that’s about it.
“We worked through a few personal problems, but we’re starting to come around and play as a team,” added Kraack. “We’re working well as a team our first year.”
Brian Ballard is a 18-year-old junior at Roscoe. He scored 19 points for the Blue Devils in the contest.
“It was a rough game,” said Ballard. “They’re a lot bigger team than we are, and we couldn’t run on our own court. We really had to work on our inside game, but our shots weren’t falling.
“We tried hard,” he added.
What about the rest of the season?
“I think we’ll come out OK,” said the hard-charging Ballard. “Things are working out kind of slow, but I think we’ll eventually work as a team.”
In the opening quarter, the home team must have been thinking “Who Let the Dogs Out?” as Sullivan West jumped out to a 28-12 lead. In the second period, the Bulldogs really took a bite of of Roscoe, outscoring the Blue Devils 27-8 to take a 55-20 halftime lead into the locker room.
In the third period, Roscoe staged a short-lived comeback, putting a 20-15 leash on the Bulldogs. In the final period, Sullivan West outscored Roscoe 16-10 to close out the win.
Double digit hoopsters for Sullivan West – other than Kraack’s aforementioned 27 points– included Mike Ahnstrom (25) and Justin Pinkel (12).
For Roscoe, Ballard was the only player to net double figures in the scoring column.
“I think Sullivan West has a good team, both inside and on the outside,” said veteran Roscoe Coach Fred Ahart. “They have depth and are very well-coached.”
According to Ahart, a play in ther closing minutes was the defining moment of the game, as Dusty Bury stole the ball, followed by a Dan Park score.
“We were hustling right to the end,” said Ahart. “I’m proud of the team . . . we’ll keep working and improving.”
Bulldog Coach Rick Ellison said that Sullivan West “played as well as we have in a long time in the first half . . . I was real pleased. We came out and played hard. We shot well, defended well, ran our sets and broke their pressure. And we didn’t turn it over much.
“We knew Roscoe wasn’t going to go down without a fight, they always play hard,” he added. “In the second half, they started shooting a little better.”
Ellison credited the play of several players for for the victory.
“Evan Kraack did a tremendous job for us tonight at point, our big man (six-foot-eight) Mike Ahnstrom played well and Rob Ward did a nice job.”
Asked to polish up his crystal coaching ball for a prediction of the rest of the season, the SW helmsman replied, “It’s going to be a dogfight, our division is real tough.”

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