By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON January 8, 2008 After three quarters of play in Saturday night’s championship game in the Billy Moran Tip-Off Tournament at Sullivan West High School, the host Bulldogs found themselves trailing Port Jervis, 52-41.
But in the fourth period, SW (5-4) erased that 11-point deficit and took the lead. The Bulldogs then rallied to overcome a four-point Red Raider advantage midway through the quarter to post a 65-58 win.
Back-to-back 3-point shots by Jason Leewe and R.J. Rosa in the first 1:05 of the final quarter brought the Bulldogs to within five points at 52-47.
Following a timeout, SW senior forward Chris Story scored inside the lane to make it a 52-49 game.
About 40 seconds later, Leewe tied the game at 52-52 by swishing a 3-pointer.
With 3:54 remaining, Port Jervis (3-6) regained the lead. Nick Smith rebounded a teammate’s missed free throw and quickly put the ball back up into the basket.
Just over a minute later, Smith swished a pair of free throws to give Port Jervis a 56-52 advantage with 2:48 left in the contest.
But the Bulldogs remained poised and eventually retook the lead. Story scored inside the paint with 41 seconds on the clock, which allowed SW to pull ahead by a single point, 59-58.
Story, Brad Reimer and Leewe each had a basket as the Bulldogs outscored Port Jervis 6-0 in the remainder of the quarter to seal their win.
Reimer scored a game-high 27 points, including four 3-point shots, to lead SW to victory. Story finished with 20 points, while Leewe and Rosa added 11 points and six points, respectively.
“We really needed that,” said SW Coach Cliff Kelly, whose team suffered a lopsided loss to John S. Burke Catholic High School just 24 hours before defeating Port Jervis. “Port is a very good team. It’s great that we were able to comeback after being down by 11 in the second half. This is a big win for us.”
SW Assistant Coach Pat Donovan agreed with Kelly and noted one play in particular that was key for the Bulldogs.
“The charge that [Jason] Leewe took really set the tone,” said Donovan, referring to a moment early in the fourth quarter when a Red Raider knocked down Leewe while scoring a basket. The referee called a foul on the Port Jervis player, which negated the two points and gave the Bulldogs some momentum in the midst of their comeback.
“We made shots when we needed to and played good defense when we needed to,” Donovan added. “It was a big win.”
Kelly lauded his team’s effort on defense, especially against Port Jervis senior forward Marcus Burbridge.
“He was their leading scorer with 19 points, but he had them all in the first half,” Kelly said. “We wanted to shut him down in the second half and obviously we did that.”
In addition to Burbridge, two other Red Raiders scored in double figures. Smith had 14 points and Darrick Mason netted 11 points.
Port Jervis Coach Ron Semerano declined to comment following the game.
Notes: The first round of the tournament was played back on December 6. The consolation and championship games were scheduled to be played the following evening, but were postponed due to inclement weather.
In Saturday afternoon’s consolation game, Walton defeated S.S. Seward, 58-40.
Reimer was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Chosen for the All-Tournament Team were: Marcus Burbridge (Port Jervis), Scott Glowaczewski (Seward), Darrick Mason (Port Jervis), Pat O’Brien (Walton) and Chris Story (SW).