By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG December 22, 2006 It was close in the early going of Wednesday night’s Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV basketball game between the Sullivan West Bulldogs and the host Fallsburg Comets.
The first quarter featured four ties and a few lead changes as each squad attempted to become accustomed to the other team’s tendencies on offense and defense.
A successful 3-point shot by James Spruill with slightly more than a minute remaining in the period gave the Bulldogs an 11-8 advantage.
With 17 seconds left in the frame, Fallsburg’s Darius Buckner responded with a layup to make it an 11-10 game.
However, SW’s Brad Reimer knocked down a jump shot as the buzzer sounded to give the Bulldogs a 13-10 lead heading into the second quarter.
In the remaining periods, SW gradually extended its lead and recorded a 53-31 victory.
SW (3-2, 1-0 Division IV) took its first double-digit advantage of the evening about three minutes into the second quarter when senior center Derek Hahn scored inside the lane. The basket put the Bulldogs up 20-10.
Hahn scored 14 points in the opening half and teammate Kevin Cappiello added eight points in the first and second periods to help SW take a 29-17 lead at intermission.
Fallsburg (0-2, 0-1 Division IV) cut its deficit to single digits (29-20) with 5:34 left in the third quarter when Buckner swished a 3-pointer.
But Alan Ackermann and Hahn each scored a basket in the next minute and a half to push their team’s advantage to 13 points at 33-20.
Hahn finished the contest with a team-high 19 points and Cappiello had 13 points. Reimer and Spruill added six points and five points, respectively, for the Bulldogs.
Bucker scored a team-best 19 points for the Comets and teammate Randy Gilmore recorded six points.
SW Coach Cliff Kelly noted that his team started a bit slowly on offense, but picked it up in the last three quarters.
“I thought we played well later,” he said.
Kelly was very pleased with the way the Bulldogs performed at the other end of the court.
“We played very good defense tonight,” he commented. “To hold a good team like Fallsburg to 31 points means we did very well.”
“Number 11 [Buckner] is a very good shooter and they are going to win many games this season,” Kelly said of the Comets.
Fallsburg Coach Pete Dworetsky noted that the size of the Bulldogs was somewhat problematic. The heights of SW starting front line players Jason Leewe, Ackermann and Hahn are 6 feet, 6 feet 2 inches and 6 feet 5 inches, respectively.
“Their height concerned us going in,” Dworetsky said. “We’re a relatively small team.”
Despite the loss, Dworetsky was happy with the way his players competed.
“We kept hustling the whole game,” he said. “There was no quit in our players at all.
“We competed hard and played with sportsmanship,” Dworetsky added.
Note: Both the Bulldogs and Comets are scheduled to be back in action tonight.
SW is slated to host Rhinebeck at 7 p.m. in a non-league game. Fallsburg is set to visit Liberty at 7 p.m. for an OCIAA Div. IV contest.