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SISTERS AND TEAMMATES Sarah Lander, left, and Heather Lander (4) close in on Tri-Valley’s Nikki Dean as she tries to pass the basketball to an open teammate during a non-league game this past season.

Sullivan West
Enjoys Good Season

By Rob Potter
Editor’s Note: Today we continue our look back at the recent scholastic basketball season. Please see more team wrap-up stories in future issues of the Democrat.

April 12, 2005 – SULLIVAN WEST

Overall Record: 15-7
Division Record: 4-2 OCIAA Division IV
Top Players: Junior forward April Ackermann was the Lady Bulldogs’ leading scorer and rebounder this past season. She averaged 12 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
Kate Fanning, a junior guard, was the team’s second leading scorer. She recorded an average of 11 points in each contest.
Freshman forward Sarah Lander was the Lady Bulldogs’ third leading scorer. She averaged 8.3 points per game.
“It’s good to know that our three leading scorers will be back next season,” Coach Ron Bernhardt said.
Season Highlight: “We played some outstanding basketball in late January and early February,” Bernhardt said. “We had a run of five or six games where we played at a really high level. We had great practices and great games. These girls combined to play above what the expectations of the team had been.”
“The whole season was filled with positives,” Bernhardt added. “These girls came to play every day. We only had two bad practices in four months. It was just a great, great year.”
Season Lowlight: While Bernhardt noted that the Lady Bulldogs had “a wonderful season,” there was one negative.
That lowlight was a 56-49 loss to Onteora in a non-league game on January 28.
“It was our lowlight, no doubt about it,” Bernhardt said. “It felt like we had the win stolen from our hands.”
Faced with a 12-point deficit at halftime, SW rallied to tie the score in the second half. But in the game’s final moments, the team suffered a series of setbacks. Ackermann and Fanning both fouled out and Bernhardt was ejected from the game after the officials called a second technical foul on him.
Bernhardt noted that Onteora benefited from an advantage at the free throw line. Onteora converted 29-of-42 foul shots, while the Lady Bulldogs made 7-of-9 shots from the charity stripe.
“It was just a bad night,” Bernhardt said.
Other: At last month’s SW winter sports awards program, senior point guard Heather Lander was presented with the team’s Most Valuable Player award. (Ackermann and Lander were actually co-MVPs, but only one award could be given out that evening.)
Fanning was named the Lady Bulldogs’ Best Defensive Player at the awards program.
“Those three players were our rock-solid foundation,” Bernhardt said of Ackermann, Fanning and Heather Lander. “Without the contributions of any one of them this season, we would have had some different results.”
Bernhardt noted that the team will greatly miss its three seniors – Jamie Clifford, Autumn Darder and Heather Lander.
“All three of them provided a great deal of leadership,” the veteran coach said. “They kept their teammates going and focused on the goals the team wanted to achieve.”

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