By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE August 9, 2002 Although it was a summer league game, Wednesday nights Sullivan Generals Summer Basketball League boys division championship game between Fallsburg and the Grahamsville-B team had the feel of a regular season affair.
The outcome of the competitive contest wasnt decided until the final seconds.
With just 12 seconds left on the clock, Fallsburgs Zaquan Hilliard drove into the lane and hit a one handed shot a few feet in front of the basket. That hoop gave Fallsburg a 59-57 lead.
As his team moved the ball upcourt, Grahamsville-B Coach Jason Semo called a timeout to set up a final shot. (Because so many boys from the Grahamsville area signed up for the summer league, two separate teams, designated as Grahamsville-A and Grahamsville-B, played in the league.)
When play resumed, Fallsburgs Brandon McKenny partially blocked a shot by Grahamsvilles Kyle Humphrey.
McKenny couldnt control the ball, however, and Grahamsvilles Eli Felder got to it. Felders desperation shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim, sealing Fallsburgs 59-57 victory.
It was a good game, but a bad timeout by me, Semo said. I told the guys that they didnt lose the game, I lost it.
In hindsight, Semo noted that he should have let his players set up a play as soon as they inbounded the ball following Hilliards shot.
In the first half, however, it looked as though the contest would not end up as a two-point game. Fallsburg grabbed an early 6-0 lead and with four minutes left in the first half enjoyed its biggest lead of the game at 25-16.
But Grahamsville-B calmly mounted a comeback to close the gap. With 1:23 left until halftime, Humphrey hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to narrow the Fallsburg lead to 27-25. Then with six seconds left in the opening half, Humphrey converted all three free throws after being fouled while attempting another three-point shot. That knotted the score at 31-31 at the half.
In the second half, neither team could post more than a three-point advantage as the teams traded baskets.
These kids did a great job, Fallsburg Coach Paul Marsden said of his team. Brandon McKenny had a big game and Zaquan (Hilliard) had a big
He also praised the way his team played in earlier playoff contests, defeating Liberty and Downsville to reach the title game. The win over Downsville was by a single point, the coach noted.
Marsden said he was a bit nervous towards the end of the contest since one player had already fouled out and three of his players on the court each had four fouls. But Fallsburg was able to keep the standard five players on the court.
Grahamsville did a good job tonight, Marsden said. Im sure well see them again during the (regular) season.
Despite the disappointing defeat, Semo was focused on the overall experience.
We had good summer season and Im happy with what my team got out of it, he said. We were competitive in every game, win or lose we played hard. And we improved, which should help us this season.