By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY February 13, 2004 The Panthers of Monticello leaped out to a 30-11 lead at the half on the way to defeating the host Liberty Indians 55-34 in Tuesday nights non-league boys varsity basketball contest.
Monticello (7-8) outgunned and out played the opposition in the first three periods until the Panthers Dick ONeill proved once again he was a classy coach by benching his starters and sending in his second string to give them a bit of floor time and keep the score from getting out of hand.
Faced with the bench, Liberty (1-12) staged a small comeback, outscoring the Panthers 16-7 in the final quarter.
A pair of Panthers reached double digits. T.J. Walker scored a game-high 15 points and Sinan Tertemiz had 13.
Andrew Reigler was top scorer for Liberty, finishing with 12 points.
I think we played hard at times, Liberty Coach Dave Slater said. Were just a young team thats learning as we play . . . were getting better every game, but its tough on the kids.
We have a team concept, he added. We win as a team or lose as a team. Ive given up looking at records. Im just looking for improvement every time we take to the floor.
The Indians only win of the season so far was against the Fallsburg Comets.
ONeill said he was glad the game was over.
We played as well as we could, he said. I wanted to get some kids who havent played a lot some time in the fourth period.
Im glad we got out of here with a win tonight. I didnt want to run up the score, because thats not what its about.
ONeill was full of praise for his hoopsters even though theyre not the most talented team Ive ever coached.
These kids have been fun to coach, he said. I love coaching them theyve been terrific and have a great work ethic.