By Ted Waddell
MONTICELLO January 24, 2003 In Tuesday nights non-league boys varsity basketball game between the Panthers of Monticello and the visiting Sullivan West Bulldogs (4-8 overall), it was a case of role reversal, as the cats chased the hounds up a tree. The Panthers defeated the Bulldogs, 71-56.
In the opening frames, it was nip and tuck: Monticello managed to hang onto a scant one-point lead at the end of the first period (16-15) and was able to stretch their lead to four points at the half by outgunning the Bulldogs 13-10 in the second period.
Monticello (10-2 overall) headed off to the locker room with a slim 29-25 lead.
The contest of hoops was a close match up until the third period when the Panthers lit up the floor by outpacing SW 19-10.
The Bulldogs came charging back in the final quarter, but it was a story of too little a bit too late. Monticello outscored SW 23-21 in the fourth period.
Stats from the free throw line: MCS 12/21 (57%); SW 4/5 (80%).
Four Monti hoopsters made it to double figures: Geraldo Fernandesz (a game-high 19 points), T. J. Walker (16), Deon Morgan (13) and Rick Villegas (12).
A trio of Bulldogs reached double digits: Everett Sayol (12), Brent Rose (11) and Sean Sementez (10).
I thought it was the best game weve played this year, said SW coach George Rose. Our defense was good, and we held Monticello to a four point lead at halftime.
Rose said his hoopsters played as a team, looking out for each other and not making a lot of mental errors as they battled the hard-charging Panthers.
Everett Saul showed up, came off the bench and played his best game of the year, he added.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Rose said, We had a dip in the road our last couple of games. This will definitely pick us up on our way back to playing in our league . . . now well start playing [Class] B-teams again. (Monticello is a Class A School).
We need to keep playing hard, added Rose.
Veteran Monticello Coach Dick ONeill said his team won by having more talent than the opposition, but he was quick to credit the lads from the other end of the county.
Sullivan West did a great job, he said. They followed their game plan, and did the things they were supposed to do . . . we had more talent.
T. J. Walker came off the bench and really gave us a lot of energy, not only with his scoring but his ability to pass, added ONeill. He broke them down defensively.
There was nobody who could contend with him, said ONeill. He beat em to the hoop. And when they didnt pick him up, he scored . . . when they did, he was able to give it up [to another player for a bucket].
He created a lot of easy baskets for us, said ONeill.
ONeills outlook on the remainder of the regular season after securing a berth in the upcoming Section IX tourney.
Its one game at a time, replied Dick ONeill.