By Ted Waddell
LIVINGSTON MANOR December 23, 2005 A win is a win, and a loss is a loss.
But in most high school sporting events, theres a lot more to the story than dusty time-worn adages.
The lead during Monday nights non-league boys basketball game between the host Wildcats of Livingston Manor and the Tri-Valley Bears seesawed back and forth like a metronome ticking away on the scoreboard.
On the way to a 32-32 tie at the half, the Wildcats outgunned the Bears 16-7 in the first frame, only to watch T-V (5-0) rebound in the second period and outscore them 25-16.
Manor (1-3) came back in the third period 16-9, while in the final frame, the Bears outscored the Wildcats 21-10 in a wild and wooly race to the finish.
By the 4:04 mark in the fourth period, the Bears had edged their way to a two-point lead (54-52), and about 90 seconds later they went up by four points after John Merchant snagged a Manor cross court pass and nailed a couple of shots from the free-throw line.
Manors Rob Baker shaved Tri-Valleys lead to 56-54 with 2:29 remaining in the game.
The Wildcats cut the oppositions lead to one point, grabbing a point on at the free throw line.
The Bears Derek Smith spilt two foul shots, putting T-V back in the drivers seat at 57-55.
Then it was back to the free-throw line for Baker, who cut the Bears lead to two by sinking both shots on a 1-and-1 situation.
In a rapid-fire finish, Merchant fouled Manors Ethan McCann, who made one of two foul shots with 27.3 seconds remaining. Manors Mike Perry was called on a traveling violation, giving the Bears possession at :13.5. Dustin VanLieu converted his free throw after being fouled while making a shot, which gave T-V a 60-58 lead at :09.9.
VanLieu went back to the free- throw line twice in the closing seconds. He missed both shots at :08.4 after a personal foul.
Then at :04.3, VanLieu couldnt convert either free throw following an intentional desperation foul by the Wildcats. But in a melee under the glass, T-Vs Fred Moore grabbed the ball and scored to seal his teams victory.
Double-digit scorers for the Bears included: Dustin VanLieu, who netted a game-high 21 points, Moore (15 points) and John Merchant (12 points). Manors double-figure scorers were Mike Perry (19 points), Rob Baker (18) and Mike Hendrickson (10).
Manor went 10-of-15 (67 percent) at the free-throw line, while T-V was 13-of-23 (56 percent) at the line.
I thought we played very well except for about two minutes at the end of the half and three minutes at the end of the fourth, Manor Coach Charlie Hicks said.
I think fatigue is going to be a factor for us all year, he added, noting that he only has eight players on the team. We go in spurts, and then run out of gas.
T-V Coach Jason Semo said that from his side of the floor, the game was awful
weve got to pick up our intensity.
Semo credited Manor for its performance.
Their kids played very hard, got every loose ball
Manor did a great job on the boards, he said. They completely out-scrapped us tonight.