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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

MONTICELLO’S IRIS ROBINSON drives past Sullivan West defender Stephanie Meyer on the way to the basket in Thursday night’s contest.

SW Wipes Out

By Ted Waddell
LAKE HUNTINGTON — February 7, 2006 – Sometimes predictions come true, sometimes they don’t.
Thursday night’s non-league game between visiting Monticello, which is currently in the middle of the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division III standings, and Sullivan West, which is in first place in OCIAA Div. IV and ranked fifth among Class B teams in New York State in the latest New York State Sportswriters’ Association poll, was an example that expectations ruled.
SW handily defeated the Lady Panthers, 64-24.
At the half, SW led the Monties by 27 points, 38-11. The home team outscored the opposition in all four quarters, even though Monticello faced a legion of substitutes as SW Coach Ron Bernhardt emptied the bench to give all his players some floor time and keep the score from getting too much out of hand.
A trio of players led the Lady Bulldogs’ balanced scoring attack. Senior co-captains Kate Fanning and April Ackermann led the way as they scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. Sophomore forward Sarah Lander added 10 points.
Monticello’s Ana Rivera was leading scorer of the game. She finished the contest with 15 points.
Stats from the free throw line: SW was 5-of-12 (42 percent); Monticello was 2-of-6 (33 percent).
Monticello Coach Karen Atack was not available for a postgame interview.
Bernhardt stepped up to the plate with praise for his team, a couple of predictions and a few words about what it means to compete in team sports.
With six games left before the sectional tournament begins, Bernhardt said there are four teams in Section IX who “can bang with any of the top-ten in the state – Marlboro, Highland, [John S.] Burke and us.”
Coming off the Lady Bulldogs’ stunning 49-47 upset over 11-time Section IX champion Burke two nights before, Bernhardt said his players “distinguished ourselves against a very competent team,” but “collectively, we were emotionally exhausted.
“We were drained, up against the wall,” he said. “But we came through [tonight].”
Reflecting on the victory over Monticello, Bernhardt said that only two SW starters played more than three and a half minutes in the second half, as “the subs got a lot more minutes than our starters.”
Counting the victory over the Panthers, the Lady Bulldogs are on an eight-game winning streak and are 11-2 on the season. Monticello fell to 7-7 on the year.
“Our objective is to run the boards, go into sectionals with a 14-2 record,” Bernhardt said of his hopes to post ‘Ws’ in the scorebook in closing out regular season play.
In their remaining six games, the Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to play two more home games. The first, against Livingston Manor, was held last night. SW will wrap up the week against Port Jervis this Friday, February 10. That contest is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the high school gymnasium in Lake Huntington.
“It’s a good group of kids to coach,” Bernhardt commented. “They’re resourceful and hungry, and they love the game… they’re continuing to get better, looking for ways to improve.
“The girls have bought into our coaching style, putting team over self,” he added.
Get Bernhardt off in a quiet corner, start talking basketball, and you'll get an earful.
As a coach with 30-some years of experience under his belt, he’s got a lot to say about the spirit of team sports and the way a lot of the world looks at competition.
“It’s a ‘me first’ generation,” Bernhardt stated. “This is a team sport… everyone’s worried about contracts and numbers, ‘in your face’ and highlight reels… what are you doing for me lately,” he said of society at large.
But the Lady Bulldogs take a different road.
“As a group we isolate ourselves from all of it, we constantly preach what we want them to hear," said Bernhardt, referring to himself and Assistant Coach Kurt Scheibe Jr.
As an example of his brand of ‘preaching,’ before the game against Monticello, he and Scheibe had the hoopsters thinking about “the word of the day.”
“It’s not the wolf, but the pack that makes the pack strong,” Bernhardt said. “It’s how you play the game, it’s not all about numbers and individual records.”

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