By Ted Waddell
LAKE HUNTINGTON February 3, 2004 Cops have McGruff, the crime-fighting dog.
The folks at Sullivan West High School have a pretty good boys varsity basketball team named the Bulldogs.
After defeating the Liberty Indians, 68-37, Friday night, the local hounds stand near the top of the heap in the hoops kennel with an overall record of 9-2 on the season.
The Indians came close to catching up to SW in the opening period, cutting the Bulldogs early lead to four points (14-10). But the home team made some adjustments in the second period to outpace Liberty (1-10) 16-6 on the way to taking a 30-16 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs chewed up the opposition 28-10 in the third frame, but the Indians outscored them by a point in the final period (11-10.)
For a while, the contest seemed like it was Friday Night Follies, until SW made some much-needed adjustments on the court prompted by their coach. The team then started playing some serious, fundamental basketball.
Bulldogs making it into double digit scoring territory were: Joe Meyer (17 points, including a trio of three-point shots), Sean Kelly (12 points) and Sean Semenetz (11).
For Liberty, Jason Garrett was the high scorer. He finished the game with nine points.
Stats from the free throw line: SW 4-of-9 (44 percent); Liberty 3-of-4 (75 percent).
Liberty Coach David Slater summed up the game in a few words.
I thought we were outhustled by a better team. They are a physical team, and we just couldnt handle them, Slater said.
I was concerned that we were a little sluggish in the first half, said SW Coach Rick Ellison. Liberty had a good plan holding the ball in the zone, but we upped our pressure and started playing man defense in the second quarter and in the second half started pressing.
Our guys needed to play at that pace, Ellison added.