By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO February 8, 2005 Young Monticello basketball players and fans were treated to an exhibition basketball game between a local team and Rockland Countys House Points Friday night at the Robert Kaiser Middle School in Monticello.
The match was organized by Jesse York and the Monticello Million Man March Community Action Group (MCAG).
House Points won by the narrowest of margins, 49-48.
York, who coached the Monticello team, didnt play just to win, he put several young players into the game in order to gain experience and have a good time.
The teams were made up of seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders. Monticello was led by the outstanding play of Justino Paredes and Shane Jones, who finished the contest with 20 and 17 points, respectively.
Paredes and Jones were quite impressive with their shooting abilities. Jones set a torrid pace with a 5-for-5 shooting streak early in the game. Paredes knocked down a 3-pointer in the final seconds to bring his team to within one point, but they ran out of time.
However, Monticello could not handle the tremendous inside play of House Points tough, big forward, Joshua McKinley. McKinley, who finished the evening with 20 points, was a nearly unstoppable presence down low. He collected double-digit rebounds and converted several layups.
House Points also received a big game from Derrick Smith, who contributed 12 points.
After the game, York said that he enjoyed it.
We played a hard game, he commented.
York noted that he played a lot of the younger members of his team in order to teach them more about the overall game of basketball.
Jim Ashcroft, coach of the House Points squad, said the game was beautiful.
I love the gym, he said. It is something we lack.
Ashcroft said he hopes to return to Monticello again for another game.
One of the referees for the game was Kelly Young, a 1975 Monticello graduate who was a standout basketball player for the Panthers.
Soreida Vicario, the presidents assistant for House Points, said the games help teach the young players about sportsmanship and gives them something to do.
For about two hours before the game, dozens of youth practiced their hoops skills during pick-up games.
Today is a day where everybody can play, York said.
York explained that MCAG conducts a basketball program which holds practices and games from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the middle school. There are two separate teams for youth (ages 10-17) and adults (ages 18-27). The teams also travel throughout the Hudson Valley region to play other teams.
In order for York to gain access to the Robert Kaiser Middle School gym, the Monticello Central School District requires that he maintain an insurance policy, which costs $2,000. York currently receives a private donation to help with the cost of operating the program, but said that wont last forever. He has approached the Village of Monticello and Town of Thompson Boards as well as the Monticello Central School Board of Education about covering the costs, but they have declined, he said.
Every community should have an open gym, York stated.