By Rob Potter
LIBERTY December 28, 2007 The Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs wasted little time in taking control of last Thursday night’s Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV basketball game versus the host Liberty Lady Indians.
SW (5-1, 2-0 Division IV) raced out to an 18-0 lead in the first five-and-a-half minutes of the contest and didn’t look back. When the final buzzer sounded, the Lady Bulldogs had recorded an 83-17 victory.
The Lady Bulldogs used a full-court press in those opening minutes, which allowed them to make some steals and cause the Lady Indians to commit turnovers. Those steals and turnovers then led to easy baskets for SW.
When the Lady Bulldogs got into their half-court offense, forwards Rachel Houghtaling and Lindsey Murphy and center Katrina Graby scored easy baskets in the paint.
Liberty (0-5, 0-3 Division IV) finally got on the scoreboard when Danielle Johnson made a 12-foot jumper with 2:30 remaining in the opening quarter.
By the end of the first period, SW had extended its advantage to 26-2.
The lead grew to 30 points when Graby spun around in the lane and put up a successful shot with 5:35 left in the second quarter.
With the outcome virtually decided in the opening two quarters, every Lady Bulldog and Lady Indian had the opportunity to play in the game.
Four Lady Bulldogs Graby, Houghtaling, Sarah Lander, Murphy scored in double figures. Graby led the way with a game-high 17 points, Lander and Murphy netted 14 points apiece and Houghtaling had 13 points.
Junior forward Melanie Kleiner added eight points for SW.
“We clicked all week,” SW Coach Ron Bernhardt said of his team, noting that the Lady Bulldogs played very well against Liberty and in a big victory over Fallsburg two nights earlier.
“We were able to play a lot of kids tonight and we played good defense,” he added.
Heading into the holiday break, Bernhardt was very happy with his team’s performance during the first few weeks of the season.
“I’m really happy to have a 5 and 1 record at this point,” he said.
Ceara Williams scored seven points to lead the Liberty offense. Teammate Angela Giacalone recorded six points.
“We are just not at their level right now,” Liberty Coach Tom LaGattuta said.
LaGattuta noted he has a young team which is trying to improve in every game it plays.
“My girls didn’t give up tonight,” he said. “They kept playing hard the whole game.”