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Lori Brown | Democrat

Liberty’s Chris Soto goes up for a basket while Fallsburg’s Dustin Foertsch (14) tries to block his shot during the fourth quarter of Friday night’s non-league game.

Liberty defeats Fallsburg, 69-55, as fans help the Haiti relief efforts

By Lori Brown
FALLSBURG — February 2, 2010 — The Fallsburg Comets hosted the Liberty Indians in a non-league basketball game on Friday night.
Even though the evening was extremely cold, many people came out to attend the game and contributed money at the door for the Haiti earthquake relief. All of the proceeds from the game will be contributed to the American Red Cross for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
The crowd was in for a great game as the Indians and the Comets played four exciting quarters. At the end of those 32 minutes of competition, Liberty recorded a 69-55 victory.
The Indians took an early lead, but halfway through the first quarter, Fallsburg’s Michael Robinson scored a basket to give his team a one-point advantage.
Liberty (5-8) then regained the lead as Brandon Tompkins and Herman Drayton made successful shots.
With three minutes remaining in the period, Fallsburg’s Danny Seletsky made two foul shots and teammate Rakkir Watson added two points. At the buzzer, Kuawan Turner swished a shot to give the Comets a 13-10 advantage.
After Robinson added a foul shot, the Indians retook the lead as Danny Anderson swished two baskets and a foul shot and teammate Mike McLean added a basket. Liberty’s Yovanni Fields had a steal and layup and also scored another hoop before the halfway mark of the quarter.
Fallsburg’s Russell Corley landed a 3-pointer to bring his team within a point of Liberty with only 2:06 remaining on the clock.
During the final four minutes of the first half, Liberty had a lead but Fallsburg (8-6) fought hard to close the gap. The Indians held a 29-24 advantage at halftime.
Every time Fallsburg scored in the third period, Liberty would come back and score to keep its small advantage over the Comets. The Indians had a strong ending to the quarter to push their lead to double digits at 51-40. Leading the way was McLean, who scored seven points in those eight minutes.
Fallsburg’s Dustin Foertsch started the fourth quarter off with a 3-pointer. Seletsky was awarded two free throws and another pair of free throws due to a technical foul. Seletsky made three of those shots at the line to help the Comets decrease the Indians’ lead.
But Liberty’s Herman Drayton made consecutive 3-pointers to advance his team’s lead.
Both teams took several free throws during the quarter, but they were unable to add too many points to their respective scores.
“We played well, but we had a couple lapses on defense,” Fallsburg Coach Pete Dworetsky said. “Herman Drayton landed two 3s, which were back-to-back shots, after we climbed back from 13 [points down]. Early on, we didn’t box out on free throws.”
Dworetsky commented that Liberty had great athletic ability on rebounds and noted that the Indians “tried to press us, but we broke it.
“Russell Corley is just coming back from a facial injury but has to wear a facemask in order to play,” Dworetsky said. “He came out working hard and did well. I am happy with our team effort.
“I wish Liberty luck the rest of the way,” he added.
Seletsky led Fallsburg with 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Robinson recorded nine points and had seven rebounds and Foertsch recorded 11 points, including a trio of 3-pointers.
“Our hearts poured out to Haiti after they had earthquakes, one after another so I talked to the guys to see what we could do,” Dworetsky said.
“We collected $460 for the Red Cross for the Haiti earthquake relief,” Fallsburg Athletic Director Tim Bult said.
The total collected from admission fees at Fallsburg’s home basketball games is normally around $250.
“It was nice to see people, and kids included, giving $5, $10 and $20 [to come see the game,]” Bult said. “Head Coach Pete Dworetsky came up with the idea and we had a week to put it together. It was nice to see everyone came out and it was a nice game.”
This week, Fallsburg will be playing two Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association Division V games at home. Tomorrow night, the Comets will host the Chester Hambletonians. On Friday evening, the Comets will welcome the Tuxedo Tornadoes.
Drayton scored a game-high 20 points, including a trio of 3-point shots, and teammate McLean added 14 points.
“It was a good game, big rivalry, both sides played very hard,” Liberty Coach Jason Semo said. “We took advantage of our size inside.
“We played very well tonight,” he continued. “Eddie Soto did a good job. Herman Drayton hit great shots and opened things up. Mike McLean played very well tonight, cleaned up around the basket and works hard in practice. McLean averages about 11 rebounds a game, but tonight he had about 15.”
The Indians will return to the court this Friday to play host Port Jervis in a non-league game.

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