By Ted Waddell
STONE RIDGE March 9, 2004 Its all over for the Lady Bulldogs of Sullivan West. At least for this year.
On Thursday night at Ulster County Community College, second-seeded SW was defeated by the top-seeded Red Hook Lady Raiders, 53-25, in a Section IX Class B girls semifinal game.
In the first half, SW (14-6) hung in there, causing many local fans in the stands to comment that these girls can beat Red Hook. The Lady Raiders then battled to a slim 19-16 lead at the half.
But in the second half, Red Hook (21-1) took control by outscoring the Lady Bulldogs 14-2 in the third period and 20-7 in the final stanza on the way to victory. (Red Hook went on to capture the Section IX Class B title on Sunday, defeating Spackenkill, 34-28).
In a fairly low scoring game, only one hoopster cracked the double digit ceiling. That was Red Hooks Amanda Simmons, who scored a game-high 18 points.
The high scorer for the Lady Bulldogs was Katie Cappiello, who netted a total of eight points.
Neither team shot well from the free-throw line in the contest. SW was 0-of-3 and Red Hook was only 4-of-10.
We had a tough time shooting in the first half, and were very glad to win, Red Hook Coach John Kuhn said.
In its last three games, Red Hook has had trouble getting the ball through the hoop in the first half. But in the second halves, the players have found their range.
I had this feeling that if we had a bad first half again against Sullivan West, it was going to be all over, said Kuhn. We were just awful in the first half. We had all the shots we wanted, we just couldnt make them.
Apparently Kuhn pulled out his chalkboard in the locker room at intermission and drew his hoopsters a little sketch of a ball sailing up into the air and going through the steel rim for points.
He singled out a trio of players for some coachs credit: Annie Paccione, Sarah Tucker and Amanda Simmons.
Want an insiders view of a season? Ask the manager.
Shelisa Duquette, a 19-year-old student at the local community, graduated from SW in 2002.
But she just couldnt stay away from her alma maters basketball team, so Duquette signed up as a SW team manager.
I think weve come a long way, she said. Im really proud of them.
Lady Bulldog guard Heather Lander summed up the game from the perspective of a hoopster.
We brought it out here tonight with nothing to lose and we proved that in the first half, said the 16-year-old junior. But they stepped it up in the second half.
Our seasons been great, she added. I loved being coached by Mr. Bernhardt.
SW Coach Ron Bernhardt said theres no substitute for experience.
Referring to top-seeded Red Hook, he said, Theyre a well-oiled team.
We got the penetrations, but missed all kinds of wide open looks, he said. We were throwing them up, and I just knew they werent going in . . . the kids were hurrying them.
Bernhardt said a handful of players went above their level in the survive-and-advance game against the Lady Raiders: Cappiello in the first half, Jessica Lederman, who did a solid job on the boards, and April Ackermann, who hit a few in the third period.
His take on the season?
It was a pleasure, we had a great season . . . we had a great bunch of kids, Bernhardt commented. Id do it again in a heartbeat.