By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR February 8, 2002 Wednesday nights basketball game between the Roscoe Lady Blue Devils and the Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats was similiar to countless games between the teams in the past and probably several future contests as well.
In other words, it was a very competitive contest between the Route 17 rivals in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
The visiting Lady Blue Devils emerged victorious, holding off a Manor fourth-quarter charge for a 40-36 win. The victory clinched the OCIAA Division V title for Roscoe (14-2, 7-0 OCIAA) and marks the third straight year the team has won a division crown. (The Lady Blue Devils captured the OCIAA Division V title last season and in 2000 won the last-ever Western Sullivan League championship.)
Down by a 32-19 margin at the end of three quarters of play, Manor (12-4, 5-2 OCIAA) did its best to prevent Roscoe from clinching the division, however.
With five minutes left in the game, Manors Jennifer Taggart made two free throws to cut the Lady Blue Devil lead to eight. Two minutes later Lady Wildcat guard Nicole Argent swished a three-pointer from the corner to make it a five-point game, 36-31.
One minute later, Taggart converted another pair of free throws to cut the deficit to three points. And Argent made a foul shot with 21 seconds left to make it a 38-36 game.
Roscoes Rose Miesner was fouled while grabbing a rebound with 18 seconds left and subsequently made one of two foul shots. That gave Roscoe a 39-36 lead.
But Manor could not get the ball upcourt for a potential game-tying basket in those final seconds. With only three ticks left on the clock, Roscoes Kelly Ahart gained possession of the ball in a scramble at halfcourt and was fouled. She then made one of two free throws to give the Lady Blue Devils a four-point lead.
The senior point guard then stole the ball at halfcourt with one second left to seal the victory for Roscoe, which is ranked sixth in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association (NYSSA) Class D poll.
We were expecting a really close game, Roscoe Coach Becky Ahart said. I think Manor played excellent defensively tonight. (Manor Coach) Andy (Taggart) and his girls deserve a lot of credit, they did a really good job.
The Lady Devils played well defensively themselves, especially in the third quarter. In those eight minutes of play, Roscoe which trailed 17-15 at the half outscored Manor by a 17-2 margin. Both of the Lady Wildcat points in the period came from the foul line.
We got a nice lead there in the third quarter, Becky Ahart said. We played good man-to-man defense. Then we kind of held on (in the fourth).
Leading the Lady Wildcat offense in the fourth quarter was Jennifer Taggart, who scored 12 of her game-high 16 points in the stanza.
We had chances to win, Andy Taggart said. Roscoe gave us some opportunites to get the win, but we didnt capitalize.
While the Manor coach said that he was happy with the way the Lady Wildcats held a very good Roscoe team to only 15 points in the first half, he was disappointed with the third quarter.
In the third quarter, we missed too many shots and had too many turnovers, Taggart said. And then at the end of the game, I think we tried to do too much.
Senior forward Staci Fersch led a balanced Roscoe scoring attack. She netted 11 points in addition to grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists. Kelly Ahart scored 10 points and recorded six steals.
Miesner and Cheyenne Smith added nine and eight points, respectively, for the Lady Blue Devils.
Argent finished with 12 points for Manor.