By Ted Waddell
LAKE HUNTINGTON March 1, 2005 With a 60-39 victory over the Huskies of Highland Friday night in a Section IX Class B semifinal game, the host Sullivan West Bulldogs earned the right to play in the Class B title contest.
The opponent in that sectional championship game is a very familiar one to SW (17-4). The Bulldogs were scheduled to meet the John S. Burke Catholic High School Eagles last night in the Class B title game at Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) in Loch Sheldrake, but the game was postponed due to the winter storm that was predicted to dump several inches of snow on the area yesterday afternoon and last night.
The Class B championship game between the Bulldogs and Eagles is now slated to tip-off at 8:15 tomorrow night at SCCC.
When the two teams take the court at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse tomorrow evening, it will mark the fourth time they have played this season. The Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV rivals met twice in the regular season, with each team winning on its home court. Then on February 18, SW and Burke met in a one-game playoff at SCCC to determine the Division IV champion. The Bulldogs held the lead for most of the game, but the Eagles rallied in the final minute to record a 42-39 victory.
Because of that win, Burke earned the top seed in the Class B tournament and a bye in the semifinal round. With only three teams in the tourney, third-seeded Highland and second-seeded SW battled for the right to take on Burke in the final.
The Bulldogs outscored Highland in every period: 13-11, 14-6, 16-7 and 17-15. But in the middle quarters, the Bulldogs played like their tails were on fire as they outgunned the Huskies by 17 points (30-13).
A trio of SW players scored in double figures: Derek Hahn, who recorded a game-high 17 points, Sean Kelly, who netted 15 points, and Joe Meyer, who added 11 points.
Only one player, Matt Radomski, reached double figures for Highland (11-10). He finished the evening with 10 points.
Stats from the free throw line: SW was 11-of-21 (52 percent), while Highland shot 12-of-26 (46 percent).
Sullivan West played some real good defense, and they hurt us on the boards, Highland Coach Mike Milliman said.
Kelly, Semenetz and Meyer can really shoot, he added of the Bulldogs top guns for the evening.
His take on the season?
Weve seen a lot of bumps in the road, Milliman said.
SW Coach Rick Ellison said he was pleased with the outcome, but I was real nervous about it going into the game.
The kids stayed focused, we adjusted and Joe Meyer and Derek Hahn stepped up the defense for us, he added.
According to Ellison, with all the last minute weather-related changes to the schedule, he was a bit worried about SW playing the semifinal contest at home rather than on a neutral court. But when he called his hoopsters with the news, they were thrilled to be playing before a hometown crowd.
Asked if he thought the Bulldogs had a homecourt advantage, Ellison replied in the affirmative.
The kids were psyched about being here
they wanted another home game, he said.
Looking toward the brass ring on the carnival ride to a Section IX title, Ellison said, The kids know whats at stake, we have a lot of seniors and they really want to be back in that championship game like we were last year.