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Rob Potter | Democrat

SW’s Lynnette Lacek gets ready to run upcourt after grabbing a rebound during the fourth quarter of Monday night’s OCIAA Division IV basketball game. Among the players surrounding Lacek are teammates Heather Puerschner, left, Shelby Grishaber (14) and Jillian Fife (24) and Liberty’s Selena Vargas (standing in back of Puerschner) and Paige LaPolt (standing next to Fife).

SW Lady Bulldogs hold on for 31-30 win over Liberty

By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON — February 4, 2011 — In the first few minutes of Monday night’s Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division V basketball game, it appeared as though the Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs were going to record a big victory over the visiting Liberty Lady Indians.
SW went on to defeat Liberty – but only by a single point, 31-30.
The Lady Indians played better offensively and defensively following a first quarter in which they were outscored 12-4.
Liberty (2-9, 0-4 Div. IV) took a 30-29 lead when sophomore guard Olivia Baum made a six-foot jump shot in the lane with 1:58 left in the fourth quarter.
Both teams had opportunities to score over the next 1:41, but were unable to do so. SW senior forward Lynnette Lacek scored what became the game-winning basket on a shot from close range with 17 seconds remaining on the clock.
Following a timeout with 12.5 seconds to go, the Lady Indians took two shots. But both times, the basketball bounced off the rim.
After falling behind 12-2 when SW’s Regina Nicoletti made a free throw with 2:19 to go in the first period, the Lady Indians outscored SW by an 8-3 margin in the second quarter to cut the Lady Bulldogs’ lead to 15-12 at halftime.
In the first minute of the third quarter, Baum swished a 3-point shot, drove down the lane for another basket and teammate Meghan Burke scored as the Lady Indians took a 19-15 advantage.
With 4:49 to go in the period, Nicoletti knocked down a 3-pointer to even the score at 20-20. Moments later, Gabrielle Humleker made a shot from beyond the arc to give the Lady Bulldogs a 26-24 lead going into the fourth period.
At the 5:15 mark of the final quarter, SW’s Heather Puerschner swished two free throws to give her team a 29-28 lead.
Baum, Paige LaPolt and Angie Ramos each scored seven points to lead the Liberty offense.
“We played better in the second half on both ends of the court,” Liberty Coach Beth Quatrale said. “Our defense was very good. Whenever you can hold a team to 31 points, it’s great.”
Although they were unable to record a victory, Quatrale was very happy with the way the Lady Indians came back after being down by 10 points so early in the contest.
“We’re getting better with each game we play,” she said, noting that her team had won two consecutive games prior to Monday night. “We want to keep improving for the rest of the season.”
Humleker led SW (6-4, 2-2 Div. V) with a game-high 12 points. Nicoletti finished with eight points and Shelby Grishaber netted four points.
“Give credit to Liberty,” SW Coach Pat Donovan said. “Paige [LaPolt] played well and their press gave us problems. They played a good game.”
In addition to having a difficult time solving Liberty’s full-court press, SW also had trouble converting free throws. The Lady Bulldogs shot only 10 of 24 (42 percent) at the line.
Donovan was happy his team overcame those factors to emerge victorious.
“It’s a win we needed,” he said, referring to it as another step towards the goal of reaching sectionals.
With the victory over Liberty and the efforts by the Lady Bulldogs to collect donations prior to last Friday night’s Coaches vs. Cancer Classic event at Sullivan County Community College where a total of $3,205.45 was raised for the Oncology Unit at Catskill Regional Medical Center, Donovan is very proud of his players.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls,” he said. “Whether it’s getting donations for the Coaches vs. Cancer event, in practices or in games, they always give 110 percent. They are great kids.”

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