By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHERDRAKE February 4, 2003 Turnabout is fair play.
Back on December 14, the Vikings of Westchester Community College, a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I school, defeated the visiting Sullivan County Community College Generals, 75-67, despite the fact that SCCC took a 12-point halftime lead.
On Saturday, the Generals, a NJCAA Division III squad, turned the tables on the Vikings (14-6), by defeating them, 79-71, at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.
SCCC (16-3) led by 17 points at the half, 42-25, and withstood a second half comeback attempt by Westchester.
Going into the game, the Generals were ranked third in the nation, according to the NJCAA Mens Div. III Basketball Poll released on January 28.
In the poll, SCCC garnered 34 points, trailing only top-ranked SUNY Delhi (48 points) and second place Fergus Falls Community College of Minnesota (40 points).
It was good game, said West-chester Coach Winston Nicholas. They [SCCC] play hard and they play with passion.
We spotted them close to 20 [points] at halftime, he added. With a talented team like that, its hard to come back . . . its hard to get over that hump.
However, Nicholas said hes not unduly worried by the loss.
This will help us get better, he said. Getting ready for March is the only thing that matters.
(The NJCAA National Tournament is scheduled for early next month.)
We finally stepped out and played the kind of game we needed to play in order to get where we want to go, said Chris DePew, SCCCs Athletic Director and Assistant Coach.
We played tough defense and had perfect execution on offense, he added. The first half was just flawless . . . it was a great effort.
Despite kicking over a couple chairs in frustration during the game, SCCC Coach Chad Beeten was all smiles at the final buzzer.
I think we came out and played really well, he said. We put together a game plan, and they followed it. I can put in all the game plans I want to, but if the kids dont do it, were not going to win.
It was a huge win, Beeten added. It was a total team effort.
He noted that Gary Jones and Darius Waters played phenomenal tonight, while the guys who came off the bench to spell them (Joe McLeod, Glenn Davis and Dante Griggs) did a super job defensively.
Gary [Jones] scored at will underneath the basket against their big guys [611 James Smith and 69 Anthony Lalor], and Haron Hargrave stepped up and made huge shots from the three-point line, said Beeten.
Both teams had four hoopsters reach double figures.
For the Generals, it was Jones (a game-high 18 points), Hargrave (17, including a trio of 3s), Mikail Malik (13) and Wygene McCants (11).
For Westchester, Jason Mcleish led the way with 17 points. Tahiem Stewart added 15 points and Terrell Mitchell and Smith each recorded 10 points.
Free throw line stats: SCCC 16/25 (64%); Westchester 11/16 (69%).
Notes: The next four consecutive Generals games will be played at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse. SCCC takes on rival Orange County Community College tonight and will host Rockland Community College on Thursday night. Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m. in each contest.
On Saturday (Feb. 8), the Generals take on Delhi College at 3 p.m. and will battle Ulster Community College at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11.