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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

LIBERTY’S JESSICA DIAZ tries to get past Sullivan West defender Jessica Pitz in Wednesday night’s game.

SW Throws
Defeat to All

By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY — February 10, 2006 – “It’s Not About Me!” takes the cake.
After the Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs’ Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV-clinching 74-10 victory Wednesday night over the home team Lady Indians of Liberty, it was time to pass out the championship T-shirts and a plate of homemade cupcakes.
The Lady Bulldogs started out on the road to victory by missing several layups in the first couple of minutes, but quickly shook off their case of the jitters and began hitting the mark.
SW (13-2, 5-0 Div. IV) dominated the game in all four quarters, outscoring the Lady Indians by margins of 25-1, 15-8, 20-0 and 14-1.
A trio of SW players reached double figures. Senior center April Ackermann led the way with 22 points, sophomore forward Sarah Lander added 16 points and freshman center/forward Rachael Houghtaling netted 11 points.
Liberty (0-14, 0-4 Div. IV) had two players score four points each to lead its offense.
Stats from the free throw line: SW was 5-of-7 (71 percent); Liberty was 4-of-11 (36 percent).
“It was another resounding defeat,” Liberty Coach Tom LaGatutta said.
“It’s been a tough year, it’s hard to draw any positives from a game like this other than the fact the younger girls got some quality playing time against a team that’s ranked fifth in the state,” he added.
LaGattuta said he hopes going up against a championship team like SW will inspire his returning players to greater heights next year.
“It wasn’t even a contest, we got beat in every aspect of the game,” he said.
After the game, Lisa Lander, who is Sarah Lander’s mother and the Lady Bulldogs’ official “team photog,” handed out her handmade celebratory T-shirts that proclaimed “Sullivan West #1 OCIAA Division IV League Champs” on the front. The back of each T-shirt was emblazoned with the phase “It’s Not About Me!,” summing up the SW coaches’ philosophy of team before self.
Then it was off to the locker room for a big surprise, as the Lady Bulldogs doused their coaches with buckets of water.
Not to be caught in a dry spell, SW Assistant Coach Kurt Scheibe Jr. came prepared with a bucket of water waiting in the wings to make sure Coach Ron Bernhardt didn’t get away without a good soaking, all the way down to a pair of sodden socks.
In the wake of the splashing, Bernhardt’s sister-in-law Rose Fanning – mother of Lady Bulldog senior forward and co-captain Kate Fanning – passed around a bunch of cupcakes.
“It was awesome,” Bernhardt said. “This solidifies it, we’re in with one league game left and everybody else has at least two losses.”
Looking ahead to the remainder of regular-season play, each future victory will possibly move SW up the seeding pyramid for the upcoming Section IX Class B tournament.

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