Sullivan West Rallies To Defeat Liberty Indians, 72 64
Rob Potter | Democrat
LIBERTY’S TREVOR TOMPKINS, left, pumps his fist in celebration as the basketball falls through the net after he put up a successful shot during the second quarter of Tuesday night’s OCIAA Division IV game versus Sullivan West. Tompkins was fouled on the play and made his subsequent free throw. Reacting to Tompkins’ basket are his teammates Lakarri Byrd (23) and Rashawn Sellers (21) and Sullivan West teammates Brad Reimer (22), who is standing next to referee Kyle Walter, and Kienan Garn, who is standing between Byrd and Sellers.
By Rob Potter
LIBERTY January 5, 2007 The momentum and the lead on the scoreboard moved back and fourth like a pendulum during Tuesday night’s Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV basketball game between the Sullivan West Bulldogs and host Liberty Indians.
In the early going, SW grabbed a small lead. The Bulldogs then extended that advantage to as many as eight points in the second quarter.
But in the third period, Liberty came back to tie the score at 35-35. Later in the frame, the Indians took a nine-point advantage at 50-41.
However, the Bulldogs rallied in the fourth period. They knotted the score twice and took the lead for good with about four minutes remaining in the contest.
As a result, SW posted a 72-64 victory.
With the win, SW improved to 5-3 overall and 3-0 in Division IV. Liberty fell to 2-7 overall and 0-3 in Division IV.
The Bulldogs grabbed an advantage they would not relinquish midway through the fourth quarter. With 4:31 displayed on the scoreboard clock, SW senior forward Alan Ackermann stepped to the free-throw line after being fouled under the hoop while attempting a shot. Ackermann made one of his foul shots to give SW a 58-56 lead.
Twenty seconds later, Liberty’s Rashawn Sellers scored a basket to tie the game at 58-58.
But with 3:54 remaining, Ackermann scored inside the lane after grabbing an offensive rebound to put the Bulldogs up by two at 60-58.
Over the next minute and a half, SW extended that lead to seven points. With 2:38 left, senior guard Kevin Cappiello knocked down a 3-point shot to give the Bulldogs a 65-58 advantage.
Fifteen seconds later, Liberty senior guard Lakarri Byrd answered Cappiello’s shot with a 3-pointer of his own. Byrd’s successful shot from beyond the 19-foot, 9-inch arc cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 65-61.
About 40 seconds later, Byrd made a free throw to again close the SW lead to four points at 66-62.
But unfortunately for Byrd, his teammates and the vociferous hometown fans filling the bleachers of the Liberty High School gymnasium, that was as close as the Indians could get on this particular evening.
Cappiello recorded a game-high 28 points, 16 of which he scored in the fourth period.
Also scoring in double figures for SW was senior center Derek Hahn. He posted 19 points, 10 of which he netted in the first quarter.
Ackermann finished with eight points and senior guard Kienan Garn added six points for the Bulldogs.
Liberty was led by Byrd and Andre Brand, each of whom registered 19 points. Byrd scored most of his points from long-distance range as he made four 3-point shots.
Sellers had a trio of 3-pointers and scored a total of 11 points.
Devin Williams added six points for the Indians.
“We played hard tonight,” Liberty Coach Dave Slater said. “We had 28 and a half solid minutes, but we had two and a half minutes where we lost focus.”
“Derek Hahn is a big, tough matchup inside,” Slater added. “We just can’t match their size.”
The Liberty coach noted that his team is “growing” as the season moves along. He said that the Indians had good wins against Fallsburg and S. S. Seward recently.
“In each game, we are working hard,” Slater said.
SW Assistant Coach Bob Menges noted that Cappiello, Hahn and the whole team had a great game.
“Our kids were really ready to play tonight,” he said.
He noted that one of the keys to the Bulldogs’ victory was their defensive performance.
“We started pressing and went to a half-court trap in the second half,” Menges commented. “We took them out of their game and caused some turnovers.”
The veteran coach also praised the Indians’ performance.
“Liberty is a very athletic team,” Menges said. “They deserve credit for the way they came back and took the lead in the second half.”