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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

LIBERTY’S MAGGIE SAUCHUK guards Fallsburg’s Erinn Gilmore during Thursday night’s non-league game.

Liberty Notches a Win

By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY — February 28, 2006 – Sometimes the wait is worth it.
The Liberty Lady Indians chose the perfect time to record their first win of the 2005-2006 basketball season as they thrilled home team fans packing the gym for Thursday night’s senior recognition night by defeating the Fallsburg Lady Comets, 37-23.
As a result, Liberty finished the season with a 1-19 record, rather than a more disappointing 0-20 mark.
Early in the fourth quarter, Fallsburg’s Jessica Brignoll and Crystal Pettway were both sidelined by a nasty collision under the net as they battled for control of the ball.
“I was going underneath with the ball to block it and get the rebound, and someone smashed me in the face,” Brignoll said. “I think it was an elbow.”
At the 7:49 mark of the final period, Liberty was up 24-21, but in the wake of the Lady Comets’ crash on the floor, quickly moved out to a nine-point lead (30-21).
In the last four minutes or so, the Lady Indians’ Jessica Diaz and Kelly Lockwood helped their team’s cause by making steals that were quickly converted into points.
With 59 seconds remaining, Ashley Meadow went 2-for-2 at the free-throw line, putting Liberty up 35-23. With 12 seconds left on the game clock, Liberty’s Jennifer Caywood made a final bucket to close out the scoring at 37-23.
Fallsburg JV Coach Tara Strauss was pinch-hitting for varsity Coach Les Hyde.
“The girls worked hard, and kept hustling until the end of the game,” Strauss said. “You can’t ask for much more, as long as they hustle and play hard.”
Strauss said that after watching two of their teammates hit the deck, the Lady Comets’ morale took a nosedive, a factor that affected the contest’s outcome.
“It was really nice to get the win for the seniors who have stuck it out for a long time,” Liberty Coach Tom LaGattuta said. “It was a typical Liberty-Fallsburg game, scrapping all the way… nip and tuck.”
In the first quarter, Fallsburg (1-14) went on a 12-point run, and then the Lady Indians’ defense went into action.
“I knew our defense would turn it around for us, and they played real hard man-to-man defense,” LaGattuta commented. “We got a lot of turnovers, and those turnovers turned into points.”
LaGattuta noted that the victory helps this year’s Lady Indians – and next season’s varsity players.
“It got the monkey off our back, and we can look forward to next year,” LaGattuta said. “We’re a young squad, and next season, we’ll have a lot of returnees. We’ve got more experience coming back next year, and hopefully they’ll work hard in the offseason… and will be something to be reckoned with [in the future].”
Fallsburg topped Liberty 12-3 in the first frame, while the home team outscored the Lady Comets 16-2 in the second period to take a 19-14 lead at halftime. The Lady Comets edged the Lady Indians 7-2 in the third period. In the final stanza, Liberty outscored the visitors 13-2.
Liberty’s Jessica Diaz scored 16 points, and was 6-for-8 (75 percent) at the free-throw line. Fallsburg’s Jasmine Penn-Consentino recorded 11 points and was 3-of-4 (75 percent) at the free throw line.
During the senior recognition night ceremonies at midcourt, Lamorne Chang and Melinda Baez thanked their parents, teammates and coaches for all of their support over the past few seasons.

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