Rob Potter | Democrat
FALLSBURG TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION members Joe Levner, left, and Steve Janove, second from left, join Michael Mednick, his wife Shari, and their sons Ethan (in red shirt), Logan and Justin, right, for a photo during the pregame ceremony honoring Michael Mednick’s late father Melvyn “Mel” Mednick on Wednesday night at Fallsburg Central School. Michael and Shari’s youngest son, Adam, was unable to attend the event.
A moment for Mednick
By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG Although the home team did not prevail on the scoreboard, Melvyn “Mel” Mednick would have been proud of the way the Fallsburg varsity boys’ basketball team played on Wednesday night.
Prior to the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV game between the John S. Burke Catholic High School Eagles and the host Fallsburg Comets, coaches, players, fans, family members and Fallsburg Central School staff members honored Mednick, who recently passed away. Burke defeated the Comets, 65-42, but the Fallsburg players tried their best as the hometown crowd cheered for them.
“The Fallsburg Athletic Department is honoring our late Board of Education member by dedicating tonight’s boys’ basketball games to the Mednick family,” Athletic Director Tim Bult said to begin the ceremony between the conclusion of the junior varsity game and start of the varsity game. “We celebrate Mr. Mednick’s memory, his love of our students and the game of basketball.”
Paul Marsden, a FCS staff member, former coach of the Comets’ varsity boys’ basketball team and friend of the Mednick family, also spoke about Mel during the ceremony. Marsden noted that Mel Mednick was dedicated to the Fallsburg school and community.
“He helped start the SADD program here at Fallsburg and after he retired as a counselor, he served on the Fallsburg Board of Education,” Marsden said. “He always cared about this school and its students.”
Mel Mednick’s son, Michael Mednick, his wife Shari and three of their four sons, Ethan, Justin and Logan, joined Fallsburg Teachers Association (FTA) members Steve Janove and Joe Levner at halfcourt for a presentation. Janove and Levner gave Michael Mednick a donation from the FTA for the gift tree in the FCS lobby.
Other activities to honor Mel Mednick included the sale of paper hearts to benefit the American Heart Association and the Fallsburg “Comet” Booster Club’s 3-point shooting contest at halftime. With the sale of hearts and other fundraising efforts, more than $1,000 had been raised for the American Heart Association in honor of Mel Mednick.
Michael Mednick said that about $3,000 has been raised by the Fallsburg community for a scholarship fund in memory of his father.
“He coached JV basketball, varsity tennis and JV boys’ soccer here at Fallsburg,” Michael Mednick, a FCS alum, said as he stood in the hallway just outside the gym during the early moments of the third quarter. “He never missed one of my games when I was in school here. The Fallsburg school and community were like his second family. He loved the kids here at Fallsburg and wanted to make a difference in their lives and make the Fallsburg community better.”
Following senior Sophie Marsden’s singing of the national anthem and the introduction of the starting lineups, the Comets got off to a good start.
With 4:25 remaining in the first quarter, Colin Conway-Whitaker made a 3-point shot to break a 7-7 tie. Daniel Seletsky scored on the next Fallsburg possession to extend his team’s lead to 12-7 with 2:58 remaining in the stanza.
Moments later, consecutive baskets by Vinny Yates allowed Burke to take a 13-12 advantage with 48 seconds left in the opening frame.
Burke (11-6, 5-1 Div. IV) extended its lead to 29-23 at halftime and pushed that advantage to 10 points (44-34) at the end of the third period.
The Eagles sealed their victory by outscoring Fallsburg (0-19, 0-7 Div. IV) 21 to 8 in the fourth quarter.
Yates paced the Eagles’ offense with 20 points, while Matt Cooney had 14 points and Brian Clarke added nine points.
“We did a great job rebounding tonight,” Burke Coach Doug Janeczko said. “We also played well on defense.”
Seletsky was Fallsburg’s high-scorer with 12 points, while Conway-Whitaker had 10 points.
Michael Melko added nine points for the Comets and Jason Corley and GodDyhu Anthony netted five points and four points, respectively.
Even though the Comets left the court still searching for their first victory of the season, Fallsburg Coach Pete Dworetsky had nothing but praise for his players.
“This was our sixth game in the last nine days, but these guys gave it their all tonight,” he said. “We started the season with 12 players and we are going to end with 12 players. They didn’t quit and kept playing hard every game. Their experience this season of working hard and trying their best in every single practice and game will help them later in their lives.”
Note: On Thursday night, the Comets lost their final game of this 2008-2009 season, 69-59, to the host James I. O’Neill Raiders in a Div. IV contest.