Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

LIBERTY’S ASHLEY MEADOW holds the basketball with both hands while being guarded by Sullivan West’s April Ackermann in Thursday night’s OCIAA Division IV game. Among the players looking on are Liberty’s Lamone Chang (10) and Maggie Sauchuk (12).

'We're Improving
Every Game'

By Ted Waddell
LAKE HUNTINGTON — January 10, 2006 – Somebody forgot to bring the slingshot.
In Thursday night’s girls’ Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV basketball matchup between the home team Lady Bulldogs of Sullivan West and the Liberty Lady Indians (0-5), a couple of SW seniors led the way to victory, as they racked up 44 percent (38 points) of their team’s total tally in an 87-14 rout of the winless visitors.
April Ackermann accounted for 25 points, while Kate Fanning added another 13 points for SW (6-2, 1-0 Div. IV.) Ackermann had a double-double, as she grabbed a team-best 14 rebounds to go along with her 25 points.
“I think we did really good as a team, we just need to keep working hard so we can beat Burke,” said Ackermann, referring to perennial Section IX girls’ basketball powerhouse John S. Burke Catholic School.
Her take of the 2005-06 season?
“We’re improving every game,” Ackermann replied.
The Lady Bulldogs blanked the opposition 25-0 in the first frame, and in the second period outscored Liberty 21-4 to take a 46-4 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the third period, SW outgunned the Lady Indians 20-2. The home team hoopsters scored 21 points in the final frame, while Liberty (0-5, 0-1 Div. IV) staged a small surge back with eight as SW sent in the subs.
In addition to Ackermann’s game-high 25 points and Fanning’s 13 points, sophomore forward Sarah Lander also reached double figures for the Lady Bulldogs. Lander netted 17 points on the evening and also dished out six assists.
The only Liberty player to reach double figures in the scoring column was Angela Giacalone, who recorded 10 points.
One positive for the Lady Indians was their performance at the free-throw line. They made 7-of-10 (70 percent) of their foul shots.
SW was 10-of-18 (60 percent) at the line.
“We ran into a buzzsaw,” Liberty Coach Tom LaGattuta said. “It was the absolute reverse of David and Goliath, without the slingshot.
“Sullivan West is a great program, and [Coach] Ronnie Bernhardt’s really got’em steamed up,” he added.
LaGattuta said he’s waiting for the pendulum to swing the other way, and is hoping the leadership of his two seniors will soon lead the way to a win.
“People ask why do I stick around,” he said. “Teaching is a big part of it… the excitement is molding these girls, watching them become good players and good people.
“It’s not just basketball, but we’re improving every game,” LaGattuta concluded.
In accessing the rest of the season, SW Coach Ron Bernhardt was licking his chops and hoping to take a bite out of the next level of competition.
“We’ve won all the games we were supposed to and haven’t won any that we weren’t, but we’re trying to step up to that next level,” he said. “We need to get over a couple of psychological hurdles, and right now we’re looking into the crystal ball.”

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