Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

LIBERTY’S ANGELA GIACALONE prevents Fallsburg’s Mannie Wizwer from shooting or passing the ball in Saturday night’s Billy Moran Tournament consolation game.

Fallsburg Grabs
The Victory

By Ted Waddell
LAKE HUNTINGTON — December 6, 2005 – In Saturday afternoon’s Billy Moran Girls’ Basketball Tip-Off Classic consolation game at Sullivan West High School, the Lady Comets of Fallsburg squeaked by the Liberty Lady Indians 45-40 in a contest that when it came to crunch time could have gone either way.
With 12.1 seconds left in the final quarter, Liberty (0-2) cut Fallsburg’s lead to 43-40 with a 3-point shot. But then the Lady Comets put it out of reach with about six seconds remaining on a half court pass from Mannie Wizwer to Crystal Pettway, who drove in for bucket to end the scoring.
Pettway led all scorers with 16 points.
“It was a good game and well- competed,” Liberty Coach Tom LaGattuta said. “Fallsburg is always a good run for us, and number 21 [Pettway] was just on fire. She had four of five ‘3s’ in a row, including one from ‘NBA Land,’ 5 feet outside the arc… she dominated in the second half.”
LaGattuta said the Lady Indians are looking to improve as the season moves ahead.
“I’ve got a young squad,” he commented. “We’re starting two sophomores and a freshman… they’ve got to learn, learn, learn. The future looks bright.”
Fallsburg Coach Les Hyde summed up the win in a few words.
“They really did a nice job, played as a team and the defense was great,” he said. “We’re young, we’ll see what happens.”
With the victory over the Lady Indians, Fallsburg improved to 1-1 on the season.
In Friday night’s opening round of the memorial tourney, Liberty was defeated by S.S. Seward, 66-23, and Fallsburg lost to Sullivan West, 74-7.
About Billy Moran
Jane Buddenhagen, Billy Moran’s aunt, was out front in the SWHS lobby selling tickets for the annual scholarship fundraiser created to keep the memory of her nephew alive.
After Moran, a star scholar athlete and member of the National Honor Society, graduated from Delaware Valley, he went on to make the dean’s list and play sports at Union College in Florida.
In April 1981, Moran and a group of friends had just wrapped up a session of spring baseball training when he was struck while standing along the edge of the road by a hit-and-run 16-year-girl who was driving after dark with her headlights turned off, said Buddenhagen.
A few days later, Moran died.
“Billy was a super kid,” Buddenhagen said. “He was very family-oriented, and even at college everybody knew about his small town of Hortonville.”
The Billy Moran Scholarship was established in 1981. Since then, scholarship fundraisers have included dinners and a golf tournament. Over the past few years, the basketball tourney has evolved to include junior varsity and varsity divisions for both boys’ and girls’ teams.
“The scholarships started out at $1,000 a year and have grown to $2,500,” Buddenhagen said.
“Everyone in the family takes a turn at the ticket table, and the refs and a lot of other people volunteer their time,” she added.

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