By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE February 24, 2006 The Sullivan County Community College Generals defeated the Bulldogs of Berkeley College, 93-67, in Wednesdays nights basketball game Down in the Bunker at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.
The home team got off to a slow start, as with about eight minutes remaining in the first half, the score was tied 29-29. Then SCCC (21-7) finally figured out it was time to put the pedal to the medal, and by the closing seconds of the first half were up 54-36 with the help of a couple of shots from beyond the 3-point line.
At halftime, Herman Weingard, a fan of more than a decade, who along with his wife, Shirley, has rooted for Sullivan at almost every home game during those years, evaluated the 2005-2006 Generals.
They have some very good players, but theyre not playing as a team, he said. Im going to talk to them that when you spell team, theres no i in team
its me first, not the team.
Weingard summed up the team in a couple of words.
[Its a] could be [team], he said. Dont be a hero.
Also at halftime, the Generals coaching staff handed out praise for the sophomore hoopsters at a special mid-court homecoming celebration.
Over the past 17 years, the Sullivan County Community College mens basketball team has built a tradition of excellence that is compared to no other Coach Chris DePew said. The Generals have won three NJCAA national championships, have been the NJCAA national runner-up three additional times, have won 10 of the past 17 Region XV basketball championships and the last three Mid-Hudson Conference championships.
Eight of the main reasons for the success of the past two years are playing their honorary homecoming game tonight
it takes a great deal of time, dedication and hard work to build a tradition, DePew continued. With the help of these young men, the tradition of excellence that we call Sullivan County Community College mens basketball will continue proudly. We will never forget their accomplishments, their personalities, their determination and their hard work. Sullivans sophomore hoopsters: Elyze Merzier, Thepsemn Julien, Javell Rosser, Roberto Macklin, Jon Kobe Frasier, Dwain Joseph, Kevin KJ Johnson and one of our best ever Everage Richardson.
Four Generals scored in double figures to lead the team to victory. Macklin recorded a team-high 19 points, Johnson had 18 points, Josh Lott netted 14 points and Donte Harrison added 13 points.
For Berkeley, George Joyce scored a game-high 25 points and Jahlil Shannon finished with 15 points.
Both teams shot very well from the free-throw line. SCCC was 12-of 17 (71 percent) and Berkeley was 15-of-19 (79 percent).
Its the best game weve ever played against them. said Berkeley Coach Brian Maher, who is in his first-year of guiding the Bulldogs. Generally, we lose 120-39 to these guys
it was a close game, until they put the press on.
Weve got a bunch of new guys, and were working real hard to get a system in place, he added.
Maher credited the play of Joyce, who averages 22 points per game. He racked up 25 points Wednesday night, before being sidelined after he was inadvertently poked in the eye while battling for a rebound under the glass.
Hes a beast, Maher said of the 6-foot-5 forward.
According to DePew, he changed his normal game plan a bit to get all his sophomores some floor time.
But the end result is the end result, he said. We struggled a bit at a few points in the first half, but we shook it off and came back.
I cant complain about a 26-point win, DePew added.
Note: The Generals are scheduled to take to the court at 7 p.m. tonight at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse against Hostos Community College to decide which team will get the top seed in the upcoming Region XV Tournament.
For our freshmen, its by far the most important college game theyll ever play, and for our sophomores, it will be the second most important game compared to last years finale, DePew commented. If we win, were the top seed. If they win, theyre the top seed. I want to be the top seed on our home court.
While the Generals were ranked number one in the nation in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III preseason poll, the pollsters now rank Sullivan 14th in the country as the countdown is on for the NJCAA Region XV tourney, which will be held Friday, March 3 through Sunday, March 5 at SCCC.