By Lori Brown
GRAHAMSVILLE February 7, 2006 The home team Tri-Valley Bears clawed through the Fallsburg Comets 68-53 in Friday nights Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division V boys basketball game.
As a result, T-V improved to 12-4 overall and 3-2 in Division V competition, while Fallsburgs record fell to 3-12 overall and 1-4 in Div. V.
The first quarter ended with a score of 11-6 in favor of T-V. But as the game progressed, the score got even closer and foul shots were plentiful throughout the first and second periods.
With the Bears ahead by one point going into the second half, the Comets needed to score every point they could get, and that is exactly what they did.
With three minutes remaining on the third-quarter clock, Fallsburg started to make a comeback. Victor Leventritt made a basket to give his team a one-point edge over the Bears.
A little later, Fallsburgs Chris Gates scored four points within two minutes of play to make the score 45-41 in favor of the Comets.
Then T-Vs John Merchant made two foul shots to narrow the Comets lead to 45-43.
There were many fouls committed throughout the last quarter, which resulted in Fallsburg being forced to compete with the minimum of five players after some of the Comets had to go to the bench after picking up their fifth personal foul.
The Bears knew what they had to accomplish in the fourth quarter with guidance from Coach Jason Semo. The Bears came out of hibernation and retook control of the game on their way to the 15-point victory.
Fred Moore helped us get on the board in the fourth quarter, Semo said.
Throughout the game, Moore scored 14 points, but he scored 11 of those 14 during the fourth quarter.
Semo commented that Fallsburg has a good team. He knew that Fallsburg was missing a few players, and that it would take a toll on them.
Chris Gates is an all-around good player and the heart and soul of Fallsburg, Semo said.
He noted that the basketball was not bouncing our way in the first half of the game.
Our team struggled in the beginning of the game, but then in the fourth quarter we turned it around by refocusing on our defense, Semo said. We had a lot of momentum in the fourth quarter.
Semo mentioned that Dustin Van Lieu was Bears high scorer with 20 points. The coach also commented on how well Merchant kept his head in the game defensively in addition to scoring 17 points.
Fallsburg Coach Paul Marsden said that he was playing shorthanded, missing five guys.
Our team put a lot of heart into the game tonight and we had a good game plan, but we ran out of gas, he said. Due to fouling, we lost three of our players Victor Leventritt, Harris Seletsky and Daniel Friedman.
Gates was Comets high scorer with 29 points and Marsden pointed out that the senior forward also had 24 rebounds.
Leventritt added 12 points for Fallsburg.
Marsden said that overall it was a high intensity game with high rivalry between the teams, but [my] kids did a good job.