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Rob Potter | Democrat

Cornwall’s Dylan Babcock tries to grab a rebound amid Monticello teammates Brian Nieto, left, Jordan Wilson (21) and Matt Strong (23) during the first quarter.

Cornwall Dragons stop Monticello, 68-50

By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO — February 19, 2010 — The visiting Cornwall Dragons wasted little time in taking the lead over the Monticello Panthers in Wednesday night’s Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division III basketball game.
Kyle Bradley made a 3-point shot and Tyler Orchowski had a basket and assisted on a hoop by Jake Bidosky to help give the Dragons a 10-0 advantage with 3:54 remaining in the first quarter.
In the next minute, Monticello’s Frank Small swished a 3-pointer and drove to the basket to cut the Cornwall lead to 10-5.
But the Dragons held an 18-11 advantage at the end of the quarter.
Cornwall pushed its lead to 36-18 at halftime on its way to a 68-50 victory.
After trailing by as many as 24 points in the third period, the Panthers outscored the Dragons by a 20-13 margin in the fourth quarter. But Monticello (7-11, 3-3 Div. III) was unable to overcome the Dragons’ quick start.
The Dragons’ aggressive defense also forced several Monticello turnovers throughout the contest.
Orchowski finished with a game-high 18 points, while Bradley had 15 points.
Brandon Flores and Joe White added nine points and eight points, respectively, for Cornwall (16-2, 6-0 Div. III).
“We were able to get the ball inside and we were able to get out and score transition baskets,” Cornwall Coach Tom Howe said. “When we were able to get the ball inside, it opened up our perimeter game.
“We also had players making good cuts to the basket and setting good screens,” he added. “Joe White did a great job of cutting to the basket.”
Cornwall also made 11 of its 16 foul shots on the evening.
Small led Monticello with 17 points, which included two successful shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
Teammate Juan Pena also reached double digits, netting 10 points.
Matt Strong and Sean Reuss added six points and five points, respectively, for the Panthers.
While disappointed with the loss, especially on senior night when the Panthers honored five senior players and senior cheerleader Davona Mapp in a pregame ceremony, Monticello Coach Chris Russo focused on the team’s overall accomplishments this season.
“We have two more wins than last season,” he said. “We got to .500 in our division and made it into sectionals.”
The five senior players honored were Brian Nieto, Briar Patterson, Frank Small, Matt Strong and Jordan Wilson.
“I’m very proud of these seniors I have had the opportunity to coach over the years,” Russo said. “They have all worked hard and it has been a very positive experience.”
Russo noted it was bittersweet that Patterson, who was injured in a motor vehicle accident several months ago, was unable to play this season.
“I really missed seeing him out there playing on the court, but he was right beside me on the bench,” Russo said. “Briar showed his leadership as a team captain by coming to every practice and every game. He has encouraged our players.”
Those who gathered at halfcourt during the pregame ceremony to be acknowledged by the hometown fans included Nieto and his father Luis Nieto, Patterson and his mother Maxine Horace, Small and his parents Natasha Small and Frank Cicio, Strong and his father Joe Strong Sr. and brother Joe Strong Jr., Wilson and his parents Barbara and Michael Wilson and Mapp and her parents Donna and David Mapp.
In addition, the wives of the Monticello coaching staff – Christine Russo, Beth Matuszak and Jackie Wojtak – were presented flowers by Patterson, Brian Nieto, Frank Small and Matt Strong.
The members of the Monticello basketball team also presented flowers and T-shirts to Coach Kelly Keesler and all of the members of the varsity cheerleading team.

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