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Lori Brown | Democrat

Liberty’s Eddie Byrd, right, jumps over Monticello defender Jesse Kapito to record two points during the first quarter of Friday night’s basketball game, which was part of the third annual Coaches vs. Cancer Classic event at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse on the campus of Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake. Watching in the background are Monticello’s Austin Billig (10) and Kenny Sanders Jr. (14) and Liberty’s Chris Lockwood (23) and Eddie Soto (10).

Monticello defeats Liberty at Coaches vs. Cancer Classic

By Lori Brown
LOCH SHELDRAKE — February 1, 2011 — The Monticello Panthers defeated the Liberty Indians, 64-43, on Friday night at Sullivan County Community College’s Paul Gerry Fieldhouse in the third game of the third annual Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
The Classic also included a Monticello vs. Liberty junior varsity boys’ game and a Sullivan West vs. Tri-Valley girls’ varsity game.
In the varsity matchup between the Indians and Panthers, Monticello dominated the first quarter by jumping out to a 19-4 lead. In those eight minutes of play, Juan Pena started off the game with a 3-pointer and added two foul shots for the Panthers. Teammates Robert Riley and Billy Cargill each added four points and Cargill made a shot with only three-tenths of a second to go.
Monticello (7-4) continued to dominate play in the second quarter and made some key steals. Liberty’s Eddie Byrd scored four points to keep his team in the game and Jarrett Markell had five points. But key 3-point shots by Jesse Kapito and Austin Billig helped the Panthers maintain their lead.
Monticello held a 34-17 lead over Liberty (1-10) at halftime.
Pena stole the initial throw-in of the second half and scored a basket only six seconds into the third period. The Panthers then went on an 8-0 run to advance their lead.
Liberty’s Marshon Williams swished a shot with only 20 seconds left in the quarter and teammate Markell also added a basket with only five-tenths of a second remaining in the stanza.
But Monticello still held a 53-27 lead going into the fourth quarter.
In the final period, the Indians scored 16 points while holding the Panthers to only 11.
Some highlights of the quarter included Monticello’s Anthony Gray swishing a 3-pointer and Liberty’s Byrd landing a pair of 3-point shots.
Andrew Hersh netted four points and Taylor Van Keuren swished a 3-pointer for the Indians in the quarter.
“I am proud of how we played,” Monticello Coach Chris Russo said. “I think our guys played with a lot of intensity and energy. I was generally happy throughout the game with their positive energy.
“We did great rebounding; Robert Riley, Jesse Kapito and Kenny Sanders did well,” Russo added. “We shared the ball and had many assists tonight.”
Kapito finished the game with 14 points to lead the Panthers, while Pena had 12 points.
Monticello, which has now won three games in a row, is slated to play Warwick tonight and Monroe-Woodbury on Thursday evening.
“Offensively, Andrew Hersh had big points during the fourth quarter,” Liberty Coach Jason Semo said. “We need to rely more on each other.”
“Monticello played very well and Coach [Chris] Russo does a good job to prepare them,” Semo continued. “Monticello had eight 3-pointers and shot the ball well.”
Byrd paced Liberty with a game-high 19 points.
The Indians have a busy schedule this week as they are slated to play four games: Port Jervis tonight, Fallsburg tomorrow night, James I. O’Neill on Thursday and Livingston Manor on Saturday.
Regarding the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic event itself, Semo said, “This is a good event and a great cause and a lot of fun for the coaches. This is a great community event for Sullivan County. Cancer affects all of us in one way or another and this is one way of doing our part. This is a great lesson for the kids.”
There were many people who made the third annual Coaches vs. Cancer Classic possible.
Some of the people who collaborated in organizing the event included Russo, Semo (who is also the Liberty Central School Athletic Director), SCCC Athletic Director Chris DePew, Tri-Valley Lady Bears Coach John Tenbus and Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs Coach Patrick Donovan.
Also present at this event representing the oncology unit from Catskill Regional Medical Center were nurses Glorianne Ellison and Mary O’Shea-Siegel. At a later date, they will be presented with a large paper check at the hospital.
“We wanted the money to go locally,” Ellison said. “We would like to thank our patients for being who they are and the kids who put it together.
“It is great for our patients to see what local youths are doing in the community,” she added. “It is wonderful to see this taking place.”
DePew was pleased with the number of people who made their way to the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse for the evening of hoops for a good cause.
“It is a great turnout, a great event and we raised a lot of money,” he said. “We are looking to expand this event next year and possibly have a college game.
“All the teams were part of fundraisers and we all tried to get as much money as we could,” DePew added. “I am really happy that Jason Semo and the other coaches wanted to do this.”
“This is a tremendous amount of money [raised], significantly more than last year. We are hoping to earn more money next year,” DePew concluded.

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