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Frank Rizzo | Democrat

Though she missed this 3-point shot attempt as S.S. Seward’s Allison Morgan defends, Sullivan West’s Regina Nicoletti (4) made crucial free throws to clinch the win.

This was no ‘foul’ win

By Frank Rizzo
LAKE HUNTINGTON — December 14, 2010 — Regina Nicoletti coolly sank four free throws in the last 50 seconds of play to secure a 54-50 non-league win by Sullivan West over the visiting S.S. Seward Spartans on Friday evening.
Nicoletti’s heroics prevented the contest from slipping away as the Lady Bulldogs were almost undone by Seward’s half-court press.
Except for Lindsey Dunn’s 3-pointer late in the first quarter to knot the score at 10-10, the hosts were always ahead, though they could never get beyond an eight-point advantage.
The last of these came with 2:05 left, when Jillian Fife sank a three to put the Lady Bulldogs up 48-40.
With just under a minute left Seward, continuing its effective late press, transformed a steal into a short jumper by Elizabeth Gorshak to come within 50-48.
In quick succession came the first of Nicoletti’s free throws, answered by Gladys Loyas, who sank the last of her eight foul shots in the fourth quarter (without a miss), and finally, with 39 ticks left, Nicoletti’s last free throws.
Both coaches blamed the foul situation as a factor.
“We rattled them with our press, but unfortunately, our foul trouble didn’t give us a chance to do more [of it],” said Seward coach Joe DiMattina. “We won the second half, so that’s something promising.”
The key to the game?
“Foul shooting,” said DiMattina. His glance at the scorebook showed Seward making 11-of-24 while Sullivan West was 19-for-28 from the charity stripe.
“Regina’s free throws were clutch… she was the difference,” said SW coach Pat Donovan, who added, “Getting in foul trouble early killed us. I had a couple of starters on the bench most of the first half. It wouldn’t have been a four-point game if they’d been playing.”
Donovan did find cause for concern over the way Seward’s press stifled his squad.
“It was the first time they had seen it,” said Donovan, who noted that in the season opener (a 56-42 loss to Ellenville), his team had not been pressed.
“It’s hard to simulate a game press in practice,” Donovan noted.
Sloppy though the game might have seemed at times, the second-year coach gave his team high marks for effort.
“They played as hard as they could for 32 minutes,” he said.
Fife (13), Shelby Grishaber (11) and Nicoletti (10) paced Sullivan West (1-1). Loyas led all scorers with 25.

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