Sullivan County Democrat
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MONTICELLO’S BRAD COOPER, who was chosen as the 2006 Democrat Boys’ Basketball Most Valuable Player, left, defends a Wallkill player during a Section IX Class A quarterfinal game.

And the All-Stars Are . . .

By Rob Potter
SULLIVAN COUNTY — April 21, 2006 – The members of the 2006 Sullivan County Democrat Boys’ Basketball All-Star Team turned in some great performances during the 2005-2006 scholastic hoops season.
They swished clutch 3-point shots in the final seconds of games, calmly stepped to the free-throw line and made their foul shots to ensure a victory for their team, delivered an outstanding pass to a teammate who was ready to shoot and closely defended the opposing team’s best player from one end of the floor to the other.
In addition, a few of these great players helped their team win an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) division title or a Section IX championship.
Democrat staff members recently contacted several of the local high school boys’ basketball coaches and asked them to pick a Most Valuable Player (MVP), five-player First Team, five-player Second Team and five-player Honorable Mention Team. Those coaches’ votes plus those of Democrat staff members determined the players who were selected for the MVP, First Team, Second Team and Honorable Mention Team.
And the 2006 Sullivan County Democrat All-Stars are…
Most Valuable Player
Brad Cooper • Monticello
The 6-foot senior guard was the Monticello’s leading scorer, averaging 23.4 points per game. He also grabbed 4.4 rebounds, made 3.2 steals and dished out 3.1 assists each contest. As one of the Panthers’ tri-captains, Cooper helped lead the team to the OCIAA Division III title. “He is the best player in the county,” Tri-Valley Coach Jason Semo said.

First Team
Lakarri Byrd • Liberty
The junior guard led the Indians’ offense this past season by averaging approximately 18 points a game. Byrd, who has been starting since he was a freshman, also made at least two steals per contest.
Kevin Cappiello • Sullivan West
The junior guard was the Bulldogs’ second-leading scorer during the 2005-2006 season, averaging 13.6 points a game. Cappiello, who shot 63 percent from the free-throw line, grabbed 6.2 rebounds per contest. He was the Bulldogs’ leader in assists (4.5 per game) and steals (2.8 per game).

Dan DeVantier • Roscoe
The senior guard was the Blue Devils’ leading scorer, averaging 18.5 points a game. DeVantier, who was a three-year starter on the Blue Devils’ varsity team, also averaged 5.65 rebounds, three assists and 2.1 steals per contest.
“Dan had an outstanding game against Fallsburg this season,” Roscoe Coach Fred Ahart said. “He made 22-of-31 free throws and finished with a career-high 42 points.”

Chris Gates • Fallsburg
The senior forward was the Comets’ leading scorer this season, averaging double figures in points and rebounds. Gates netted 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds per contest.

John Merchant • Tri-Valley
The 6-foot-2 junior forward paced the Bears’ offensive attack by averaging 17.5 points. Merchant also recorded nine rebounds and four blocks per game.

Second Team
Will Gahan • Family School
The senior forward started all of the Falcons’ games this season. Gahan averaged 11.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per contest. He scored a game-high 26 points in the The Family School’s 58-52 victory over Chapel Field in the Section IX Class D championship game on March 4 at SUNY New Paltz.

Derek Hahn • Sullivan West
Hahn, a 6-foot-5 junior center, was the Bulldogs’ top scorer this season, averaging 13.9 points per game. He also averaged 11.6 rebounds and 4.2 blocks each contest. Hahn shot 54 percent from the free-throw line and 52 percent from the rest of the court.

Mike Normann • Monticello
The 6-foot-3 junior center averaged a double-double this past season. He scored 14.8 points and pulled down 12.9 rebounds a game. Normann also averaged 4.1 steals per contest.

Mike Perry • Livingston Manor
The senior forward was the Wildcats’ top scorer this season, averaging 16 points a game. Perry also grabbed nine rebounds per contest.

Dustin Van Lieu • Tri-Valley
Although he was only a freshman, Van Lieu was one of the Bears’ starting guards. One of his best games was a February 3 contest against OCIAA Division V rival Fallsburg. Van Lieu scored a team-high 20 points to help the Bears record a 68-53 victory over the Comets.

Honorable Mention
Rob Baker • Livingston Manor
The senior center/forward averaged a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds per game. He was a big reason the Wildcats advanced to the Section IX Class D semifinals.

Nick Klufas • Eldred
The senior guard was a key member of the Yellowjackets team this season. Klufas turned in one of his most noteworthy performances in a January 6 game against OCIAA Division VI rival The Family School. He made four 3-point shots that evening and scored a game-high 24 points to lead Eldred to a 57-52 victory over the host Falcons.

Troy Kirchner • Roscoe
The senior center/forward was a three-year varsity starter for the Blue Devils. Kirchner averaged 10.8 points and a team-best 7.3 rebounds per game. He also shot 48 percent from the field this season.

Fred Moore • Tri-Valley
The junior forward played a key role for the Bears this season. In a January 19 game against OCIAA Division V foe Tuxedo, Moore led the T-V offense by scoring 21 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.

Andrew Van Riper • Family School
The junior guard started every game this season. Van Riper was the Falcons’ leading scorer, averaging 13 points a game. He also averaged two rebounds and two assists per contest. In the Section IX Class D championship game versus Chapel Field, he recorded 14 points to help The Family School win its first sectional basketball title.

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