Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

THE SULLIVAN BEARCATS won the boys’ division of the SCCC Summer Basketball League. Sitting in front are Mike Jones, left, and Brad Cooper. In middle row, from left to right, are Kevin DeLaney, John Merchant, Jermaine Davis, Coach Chris Russo, Coach John Tenbus, Abram Leon, Luis Gonzalez and Dustin VanLieu. Back row: Luis Parades, Brian DeStefano, Woody Cherry, Dominick Russo (Coach Russo’s son), Ryan VanLieu, Jack Perrot, Justino Paredes and Steven Reisert.

SCCC Summer Basketball League Crowns Boys, Girls Champions

By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE — August 10, 2004 – The Sullivan County Community College Summer High School Basketball League crowned its champions last Thursday night at Paul Gerry Field-house on the SCCC campus.
The girls’ and boys’ title games were very different, however.
In the girls’ contest, Downsville overcame a first half deficit and held off a determined Sullivan West team in the final moments to post a 34-30 victory.
In the boys’ title tilt, the Sullivan Bearcats stormed out to a 10-0 lead in the first eight minutes of action. As a result, the Bearcats – a team made up of players from the Monticello, Tri-Valley and John S. Burke Catholic school districts – went on to record a 68-40 win.
SW was able to take a five-point lead in the first half to the girls’ title contest. But Downsville gradually closed the gap by halftime.
However, SW again opened a small lead in the second half. With 9:15 remaining in the contest, April Ackermann hit a baseline jumper to put SW up 22-18.
But Downsville patiently erased that lead. With exactly six minutes left, Courtney Hoyt made a free throw to give Downsville a 25-24 lead.
Hoyt extended her team’s advantage with a driving layup with 1:39 showing on the game clock. That hoop gave Downsville a 31-28 lead.
Alexa Henderson sealed the win for Downsville by swishing three of four foul shots in the game’s final 32 seconds.
Downsville Coach Kyle Emerich had a simple reply when asked about the key to his team’s victory.
“We started to execute our plays better in the second half,” he said. “We got a better feel for the game. In the first half, we just weren’t playing well.”
Of course, clutch free throw shooting always helps in a close game.
“When we have a lead at the end of a game, we want the ball in Alexa’s hands or Charity’s hands,” said Kyle Emerich, referring to guards Alexa Henderson and Charity Emerich. “They each shoot about 85 percent from the line. We have Charity inbound the ball to Alexa so that if they double team Alexa she can pass it back to Charity, who is also a great free throw shooter.”
Last-minute free throws were not necessary in the boys’ final, however.
After they raced out to the aforementioned 10-0 lead, the Sullivan Bearcats used their quickness to create steals and easy baskets throughout the first half. The Bearcats also scored frequently.
Two baskets in the lane by Jermaine Davis in a 45-second span late in the half gave the Bearcats a 22-10 lead.
Later in the half, Mike Jones hit a pair of three-pointers within 55 seconds to extend the team’s lead to 34-18 with one minute left until the halftime break.
After halftime, the Bearcats picked up where they left off to post their 28-point win.
“Our goal is outrebound the opposition and play better defense than they do,” Bearcats’ Coach Chris Russo said. “We have a lot of talent offensively, so we believe that we have a good chance to win when we rebound and play good defense.”
The Bearcats went through the summer league’s regular season and playoffs without a loss, finishing with a perfect 8-0 record.
“I’m proud of them,” Russo said. “All of these kids played hard.”

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