By Rob Potter
CALLICOON The Boston Celtics recently won their 17th NBA World Championship by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers four games to two in the NBA Finals.
Closer to home, hundreds of hoops fans were treated to some great performances by high school players during the 2007-2008 season.
With that in mind, the Democrat recently contacted the coaches of the boys’ basketball teams at Sullivan County’s eight high schools plus The Family School in neighboring Delaware County and asked them to nominate players for the Democrat All-Star Team.
The votes have been totaled and the 2007-2008 Democrat All-Stars are…
Most Valuable Player
Bo Murphy, Tri-Valley, senior, forward
Murphy was one of a few players returning from Tri-Valley’s 2006-2007 team which won the Section IX Class C championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the state Class C tournament.
He scored a team-high 19 points to lead the Bears’ to a 64-59 non-league victory against the Roscoe Blue Devils in February.
In the final game of his scholastic career, Murphy netted 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Bears’ 47-43 loss to the Millbrook Blazers in the semifinals of the Section IX Class C tournament back in March.
James Baker, Livingston Manor, senior, guard
Baker averaged 14 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists a game this past season.
“James has played for me for four years and his contributions and ability to take over a game will be sorely missed,” Manor Coach Charlie Hicks said.
Darius Buckner, Fallsburg, senior, forward
Buckner averaged a double-double of 20.1 points and 13.3 rebounds per game during the 2007-2008 season.
He also averaged 5.6 steals a contest and scored 30 or more points in four games.
“I believe he was the most dominant player in the county,” Fallsburg Coach Pete Dworetsky said.
Jayson Harris, Roscoe, junior, guard
Harris averaged a double-double of 20.2 points and 11.5 rebounds a game this past season.
He also averaged 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals per contest.
In three varsity seasons, Harris scored a total of 974 points.
Mike Hendrickson, Livingston Manor, junior, forward
Hendrickson averaged a double-double of 17.2 points and 14.5 rebounds per game during the 2007-2008 season.
He also dished out an average of 4.3 assists per contest.
“Mike had a tremendous season,” Manor Coach Charlie Hicks said. “His work ethic and attitude made a complete 180 from the season before and it reflected in the success he had this year.”
John Scully, Eldred, senior, forward
Scully scored 11 points to help the Yellowjackets record a 53-51 victory over The Family School in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division VI game in early January.
Later that month, Scully poured in a team-high 26 points as Eldred rallied to defeat Chester, 66-62, in a non-league game. He also made a trio of 3-point shots in the contest.
Randy Gilmore, Fallsburg, senior, forward
Gilmore averaged 17.6 points per game this past season.
“He was an outside threat who made 37 3-pointers this season,” Fallsburg Coach Pete Dworetsky said.
Dior Jackson, Monticello, senior, guard
Jackson, a three-year starter for the Panthers, averaged eight points, six assists and four steals a game during the 2007-2008 campaign.
“He was the key to everything we did,” Coach Dick O’Neill said. “He was the heart and soul of our team.”
Brad Reimer, Sullivan West, junior, forward
Reimer scored 13 points to help the Bulldogs defeat the Monticello Panthers, 45-43, in a non-league game back in January.
He swished four 3-point shots and scored a game-high 27 points as the Bulldogs topped the Port Jervis Red Raiders, 65-58, in the championship game of the annual Billy Moran Tip-Off Tournament.
He was named the tournament’s MVP.
Chris Robinson, The Family School, senior, forward
Robinson recorded a team-high 12 points in an OCIAA Division VI game against Chapel Field in early January.
Later that month, he paced the Falcons with 21 points in an OCIAA Division VI contest versus the Roscoe Blue Devils.
Dashawn Williamson, Liberty, junior, forward
In a January OCIAA Division IV game against visiting James I. O’Neill, Williamson led Liberty to a 63-61 overtime victory. He made the game-wining 3-point shot with just three seconds remaining and finished the contest with a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Williamson scored eight points to help the Indians defeat Goshen, 60-54, in a non-league game in February at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse on the Sullivan County Community College campus in Loch Sheldrake.
Joe Ladenhauf, Roscoe, senior, forward
Ladenhauf had eight points as the Blue Devils’ defeated The Family School Falcons, 64-52, in a January OCIAA Division VI game.
He scored 14 points in a narrow loss to the Tri-Valley Bears in a Jan. 31 non-league contest.
Justen Mills, Liberty, senior, forward
Mills averaged six points and nine rebounds per game during the 2007-2008 season.
One of his biggest games was a 20-point, 12-rebound performance against Sullivan West.
“Justen was a large part of our inside force and he got better every day,” Liberty Coach Jason Semo commented. “He is a great kid, too. He volunteers his time with our youth program, is an honors student and a great teammate and competitor. His unselfish attitude was one of the biggest contributions to us getting back to sectionals for the first time in eight years.”
Chris Story, Sullivan West, senior, forward
Story netted 20 points in the Bulldogs’ 65-58 victory over Port Jervis in the championship game of the Billy Moran Tip-Off Tournament.
He was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Dustin VanLieu, Liberty, junior, guard
VanLieu averaged 17 points and five steals per game this past season. He broke the 1,000-point plateau in the Indians’ 63-61 overtime win against James I. O’Neill on Jan. 18 and ended the season with 1,184 career points. Another highlight of the season occurred when he made eight 3-point shots in a non-league contest against Goshen.
“Dustin is a clutch shooter who typically hits the big 3-pointer that takes or extends a lead,” Liberty Coach Jason Semo said. “He has been defending the top guard from the opposing teams since he was an eighth-grader. Dustin’s strength is his work ethic. He has a never quit attitude and is always looking to improve his game.”
Kojo Williams, Eldred, senior, forward
Williams scored 11 points in the Yellowjackets’ OCIAA Division VI game versus the Roscoe Blue Devils on Feb. 14.
In late January, he registered seven points in Eldred’s 66-62 overtime triumph over visiting Chester in a non-league game.