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LIONEL WHITE EXCITEDLY watches the basketball fall through the net in a game during the 2001-2002 season..

Fallsburg’s Lionel White
Loves Sports, Competing

By Jeanne Sager
FALLSBURG — November 26, 2002 – If there’s one thing Lionel White hates, it’s losing.
The Fallsburg senior has racked up awards on every team he’s played on since seventh grade – he joined the Comets’ basketball team on the modified level, soccer his sophomore year and he’s been throwing the shot put for years.
But none of them mean as much as the division championships his teams have brought in over the years.
“Awards don’t really mean that much to me as long as the team goes far,” White said.
“He’s got a competitive spirit,” added Fallsburg Boys’ Soccer and Basketball Coach Paul Marsden. “He hates to lose.”
Sports have always played a major role in White’s life.
The “baby” of his Hurleyville family, White grew up watching his older brothers play ball. His eldest brother, Albert, entered the University of Rhode Island on a full track scholarship.
And as a kid, White played “schoolyard ball” with his buddies.
He played intramural sports as a youngster in the fifth and sixth grades, then joined the Fallsburg modified basketball team in seventh grade.
White was asked to try out for the soccer team three years later. Albert had flourished as the Fallsburg goalie, and the coaches saw potential in Lionel’s game.
“He’s very quick,” Marsden explained. “He’s got great hands, and he can throw the ball a long way.”
Lionel says he stays in the goal for the most part because it’s the least amount of running.
But Marsden thinks White has a different motive.
“His competitiveness,” the coach said.
“He tries to carry the team,” Marsden explained, referring to both soccer and basketball season.
“As a senior, I look to him to show some strong leadership, and he’ll tell the younger guys ‘This is how we act.’
“He tries to bring some humor to the game,” Marsden added.
A major part of any game in the Fallsburg Central School District is sportsmanship, a component of athleticism that has kept White going through the years.
Coaches say he’s the kid who pushes others to act up to their abilities but represent the school in a positive manner.
“I try to motivate them to do their best, but keep up sportsmanship,” White explained. “That’s what the coaches and athletic director teach us around here.
“I try to be more of a leader than a follower,” he continued.
Being part of the team is important to White, who uses sports as an extra time to hang out with friends and stay off the couch.
“We all want to do well,” he explained. “We’re all competitive, and we all want to take it to the next level.”
And if that means playing sports year-round (he throws the shot put on the Comets’ spring track team), that’s what White wants to do.
“There’s a week between seasons,” he explained, “but I do it for the fun, for the love of it.
“I want to go as far as I can possibly go.”
And when he’s not on the field or the court, White can be found shooting hoops with friends, spending time with his “special girl,” Jamie Cruz, and his family.
For the past three years, the senior has been a chief justice on the Fallsburg Central School student government, and he said he tries his best to be a good student.
White has already begun looking at colleges to attend in the fall, hoping that St. John’s University or one of the SUNY schools will pick up on his soccer skills and offer a scholarship.
“Lionel definitely has the tools to play sports in college and to be academically capable,” Marsden said.

Name: Lionel White

Age: 17

Hometown: Hurleyville

School and grade: Senior at Fallsburg Central School

Parents and family: White is the son of Charlotte and Albert White. He has two older brothers, Albert and Wesley, and an older sister, Shanna.

Favorite sport: Basketball

Favorite professional sports figure: The Nets’ Jason Kidd. “I taught him all he knows,” White joked.

Ultimate athletic goal: White plans to pursue athletics when he attends college in the fall.

College plans: White is currently looking at different schools in the state to find a perfect fit. It’s too early in the school year to know which one he’ll attend, he said.

Favorite subject: English

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