By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE March 8, 2002 The Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs (20-3) girls varsity basketball team would have had a perfect record during the 2001-2002 season if it werent for the Lady Torandoes of Tuxedo (19-4).
The Lady Bulldogs only three losses of the 2001-2002 season of hoops were at the hands of Tuxedo.
Last Thursday, the two teams met in a Section IX Class C semifinal at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse at Sullivan County Community College. It was their fourth meeting of the season.
While the game was fairly even during the first half, Tuxedo made some adjustments that culminated in a 20-7 fourth period run that iced a 48-36 victory.
Leading the way for the Lady Tornadoes was freshman guard Christina Baxter, who scored a game-high 23 points. Also netting double figures for Tuxedo was Ashley Rossi, who finished the contest with 16 points.
Junior center Tiffany Hauser paced the SW offense with 17 points. She also grabbed 13 rebounds in the contest.
Both teams shot relatively well from the foul line. Tuxedo was seven-of-10 (70 percent), while Sullivan West was 10-of-15 (67 percent).
It was great game, said Tuxedo Coach Dave Powers said. Both teams played hard.
According to Powers, the Lady Tornadoes made a couple of adjustments at the half and returned to the court with a man-to-man defense. Offensively, they tried to get the ball to their inside shooters.
Christina Baxter hit some big shots for us, Ashley Rossi stepped up big and Nancy Odoyo came off the bench to do a great job tonight, Powers said. They really ignited us.
Asked about the loss to the Lady Torandoes, SW Coach Ron Bernhardt replied, Tuxedo played a fabulous fourth period. The Baxter girl was Jordanesque with her poise. She was unbelievable.
They out-sustained us, he added. We lost our focus because of the intensity of the moment. They did that in the first half, but we didnt capitalize on it.
It all came down to their great fourth quarter run, and in the midst of that we had a lull. They shot seventy-percent in the fourth quater, and that was too much for our girls.
Bernhardt noted that Hauser was the only one who played at their par for the Lady Bulldogs, adding that we wanted to be competing at our best, but we didnt.
It was an unforgettable season, he said. It was a very difficult year because we had too many kids with similiar abilities. It was a difficult chess game. The kids put their best foot forward.
The veteran coach said hes calling it quits in order to spend more time with his children, who play modified sports at SW.
As a parent, I cant not be available in their lives, he said. Ive stepped out of the varsity arena . . . (and) I hope they can find someone with my passion and energy for the sport.