By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE March 8, 2002 On February 28, the Chester Hambletonians (13-9) squared off against the Falcons of the Family School Foundation (9-12) at Sullivan County Community Colleges Paul Gerry Fieldhouse in a Section IX Class D semifinal.
At the final buzzer, the Hambletonians, the defending Section IX Class D champions, edged the Falcons 48-47.
Chester jumped out to a early lead, scoring 24 of their 26 points in the first half from outside the three point arc. The Hambletonians scored five threes in the opening period and swished a trio of three-pointers in the second quarter.
In the second half, the Falcons rallied to close down the Hambletonians success from the three-point arc. The Family School outscored Chester by a 13-9 margin in the fourth period.
With six seconds remaining on the game clock and Chester holding a three point lead (48-45), the Family School set up its offense for a potential game-tying three-point shot. But Falcon guard Jordan Singer missed the game equalizer.
Teammate Sean Hogan quickly grabbed the rebound, but instead of kicking it out to the three point line put the ball back up and in the basket for two points. A second later the buzzer sounded, ensuring the Chesters one-point victory.
Two Hambletonians reached double figures in the scoring column. Brian Clifford netted 16 points and Tim Clifford recorded 10 points. Leading the Falcon offense were Hogan, who scored 13 points and Singer, who finished the contest with 11.
Chester enjoyed a slight advantage at the foul line, converting five-of-nine shots (56 percent) to the Family Schools two-of-nine (22 percent).
First year Family School Coach Larry Patrisso said his team had a great year despite the absence of a junior varsity squad and a mid-November start on the season.
Man-to-man, my guys werent as quick as they were, he said of the game against Chester. And when theyre hitting the basket from three feet outside the arc, its kind of hard to stop them. Theres nothing you can do except put your hands up, play tough and make them shoot over your head.
In the second half, we had our own run . . . my kids gave it everything they had, they were flying all over the floor, he added. I think the kids did a great job. I hope well be competitive next year.
We thought we had them put away, but they came back, Chester Coach Verdelle Payne said. For a first year coach, he (Patrisso) did one heck of a job.
My entire starting team played very well, he added.
Incidentally, Payne, who also serves as Chesters Athletic Director, is calling it quits at the end of this school year his 36th at Chester High School.