By Fred Stabbert III
MONTICELLO Down by as many as 17 points early in the third quarter, the Sullivan West Bulldogs showed off their three-point shooting prowess en route to a dramatic 58-50 win over host Monticello on Thursday evening.
Matt Cardona hit six threes in the final eight minutes to key a 29-12 scoring blitz and spark the unlikely comeback.
Sullivan West Coach Bruce Nober was to quick to note that his team’s hot shooting was the result of his inside post players kicking the ball out to the perimeter.
Both teams started the game tight, netting only four points each during the first five minutes of the game. The first quarter ended with the Monticello Panthers clinging to a slight 12-10 lead.
But the hometown Panthers warmed up in the second quarter, scoring 18 points to take a 30-17 lead into the lockerroom.
Anthony Gray, Monticello’s senior tri-captain, had 13 points at the half to lead the way while teammate Rob Riley, another team captain, had 10.
The third quarter didn’t start too well for the Bulldogs, as E.J. Franskevicz picked up his third foul just 28 seconds into the period.
After hitting the bench, Sullivan West fell behind 34-17 with 6:20 left in the quarter.
But slowly, the comeback started, as first Patrick Pierce nailed a three-pointer then Franskevicz, who was back in the game, drained two three pointers to narrow the gap to 38-27.
Sullivan West saved its best quarter of the year for the final period, as Cardona started swishing three pointers like Larry Bird and the defense stifled Gray and the Monticello offense.
“We really pride ourselves on our defense,” Nober said.
Cardona finished the night with 26 points, while Franskevicz added 14 for Sullivan West (2-3).
Monticello (1-2) was lead by Gray’s 22 points and Riley’s 20.
The game, which was part of the Jingle Bell Classic, was a battle between the two schools on each end of Route 17B Sullivan West and Monticello.
This time the Bulldogs made the 16-mile trip to invade the cozy Monticello gym, nicknamed “The Pit.”