By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE March 1, 2005 A third-quarter scoring run helped the S.S. Seward Spartans defeat the Livingston Manor Wildcats Sunday afternoon, 75-43, in the Section IX Class D championship game in Paul Gerry Fieldhouse on the campus of Sullivan County Community College.
Seward, which was ranked third among Class D boys basketball teams in the New York State Sportswriters Association poll released on February 20, outscored Manor by a 25-10 margin in those eight minutes of play. That scoring surge allowed Seward (20-2) to transform a solid 35-25 lead into a commanding 60-35 advantage heading into the final period.
Throughout the game, the Spartans used Wildcats turnovers and their own good shooting to gradually pull away. Leading Seward to the win was senior guard Joe Hoyt, who recorded a triple-double. He scored 12 points, dished out 11 assists and made 11 steals. After many of those steals Hoyt or a teammate beat the Manor defense downcourt to easily convert a layup.
Hoyt also had plenty of help from his teammates. Chris Dagele scored a game-high 20 points, with nearly half of that total coming from beyond the 3-point arc as he knocked down a trio of 3-point shots. Senior forward Edin Sahmanovic scored many baskets in the lane and finished with 15 points.
In addition, senior guard Mark Mancini swished a pair of 3-point shots for the Spartans in the final minute of the third quarter to cap their pivotal scoring surge.
The first two times we played Manor this season, we got out to a big lead early in the game, but tonight they came out and stayed right with us in the first half, Seward Coach Rob Gravelle said. Tonight it was more of a gradual expansion of our lead. We were comfortable with having the 10-point lead at halftime.
Gravelle praised his players for the way they worked together and supported each other.
Certainly Joe is our leader and he played a great game, but everyone on the team has a role to play and they did that tonight, he said. Edin Sahmanovic really stepped up and did a great job for us.
Senior guard Tim Bryant led Manor (13-8) with 13 points. Senior forward Marvin Bonilla netted 12 points and junior forward Rob Baker added six points.
When asked about the key to the game, Manor Coach Charlie Hicks answered quickly.
Turnovers, he said. Somebody said we had 34 turnovers in the game. We had 18 turnovers in the first half, so to turn the ball over that many times and trail one of the top teams in the state by only 10 points at halftime was amazing.
But you cant expect to beat a great team like that when you turn the ball over so much, Hicks added. They just beat us up and down the floor tonight.
The Wildcats helmsman noted that he was happy with how his team hustled the entire game.
These guys gave it their all, it just wasnt enough, Hicks said.
The game was the final high school contest for six Manor seniors: Bonilla, Bryant, Dan Hinkley, Derek Irwin, Josh Mendez and Alex Santiago.