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Lori Brown | Democrat

Members of the Fallsburg cheerleading team hold up individual signs to spell out the word Seniors as Coach Daniel Redmond and the seven seniors on the Lady Comets’ basketball team smile during Friday night’s pregame ceremony. From left to right are seniors Natagje Hernandez, Shaina Swerdling, Tonye Freeman, Jasmine James, Shanise Tisdale, Myana DaCosta and Jahlesea Davis.

Fallsburg Lady Comets use 3-point shots to earn a win on Senior Night

By Lori Brown
FALLSBURG — February 22, 2011 — The seniors on the Fallsburg girls’ basketball team and cheerleading squad were recognized on Friday night prior to the Lady Comets’ Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV game against S. S. Seward.
Cheerleading Coach Kiffanie Rodgers recognized four girls from her squad – Bianca Molina, Susan Moody, Kassie Orlan and Helen Rodriguez. Each of the four ladies was presented with a single carnation and then gave those carnations to their loved ones.
Basketball Coach Daniel Redmond recognized seven girls on his team. Redmond held back his emotions while talking about the seniors: Myana DaCosta (captain), Jahlesea Davis, Tonye Freeman, Natagje Hernandez, Jasmine James (captain), Shaina Swerdling and Shanise Tisdale, were all honored with flowers for themselves and family members.
The seniors presented Redmond with a basketball signed by all of the team members.
The Lady Comets were definitely pumped for their last home game of the regular season as they had a very strong start on their way to a 58-35 victory over Seward.
The Lady Spartans only recorded four points during the first quarter as Fallsburg (9-7, 3-5 Div. IV) played tight defense. Shanice Mack blocked some shots at the end of the period to prevente Seward (5-13, 0-8 Div. IV) from scoring more than those four points.
Fallsburg recorded 14 points in the opening eight minutes of play. Back to back 3-point shots by Tisdale and DaCosta helped the team take a double-digit lead.
Those 3-pointers were just the start of the home team’s long distance accuracy as the Lady Comets added an additional five 3-pointers during the second quarter to take a 31-point advantage at halftime.
Seward’s Lindsey Dunn contributed two points and Gladys Loyas landed a foul shot to help keep their team in the game. Fallsburg’s Sheryl Pinder had a big quarter as she made two 3-pointers and converted 3 out of 6 foul shots. Swerdling also contributed a trio of 3-pointers and landed the last one with four seconds until the intermission.
DaCosta started the third period off with a 3-pointer.  The Lady Spartans doubled their score to begin their comeback as Dunn recorded five points in the quarter, including a 3-pointer.
Pinder made both of her free throws after a technical foul was called on Seward.
Fallsburg’s Kelsey Moody had netted four points in the quarter.
In the fourth period, Seward played more aggressively and successfully utilized a full-court press to outscore the Lady Comets 21-9 during those eight minutes.
Both teams also recorded many fouls, however. Seward went 7 for 21 at the foul line in the quarter, while Fallsburg was 5 of 12 at the line.
Loyas, who had four steals on the evening, scored eight points during the fourth quarter.
Seward never gave up, but could not overcome its large first-half deficit.
“We had a great second half, but a flat beginning,” Seward Coach Joe DiMattina said. “I give credit to Fallsburg, they had eight 3-pointers just in the first half.
“We cut a 31-point deficit,” he added.
Dunn led the Lady Spartans with 11 points.
For the game, Seward shot only 10 for 31 (32 percent) at the free-throw line. Fallsburg was slightly better at the line, making 13 of 26 (50 percent).
“This is our last game of the season,” DiMattina said. “One positive note for next year is we are only losing two girls.”
The Lady Comets have earned a spot in sectionals, but won’t know who their opponent will be until the Section IX boys’ and girls’ tournament seeding meeting is held. That meeting is scheduled to be held on Thursday night.
Pinder paced Fallsburg with 15 points and teammates Moody and Swerdling each recorded 13 points.
“In the first half we shot the ball phenomenally,” Redmond said. “Defensively, we held Seward to seven points in the first half. During the second half, we had too many fouls and the press started getting to us.”
“We gave them too many chances for points,” Redmond added. “I am really impressed on how Seward competed. Joe DiMattina is a good coach and they are always ready to play.
“We kept the lead,” Redmond continued. “Sheryl Pinder and Shaina Swerdling really shot the ball well.”  “Kelsey [Moody] was inside and had 18 rebounds, she opened up a lot and you will see a lot from her in the coming years.”
DaCosta and Alexis McCarthy each registered seven rebounds for the Lady Comets.
“We have momentum going into sectionals and we are going to play our game,” Redmond said. “It was a very emotional night as I had coached some of these girls for three years. We are going to prepare just for sectionals. We have a few minor things to work on, but we should be alright. For next year we will be bringing back a decent core [of players]: Shanice Mack, Sheryl Pinder, Kelsey Moody and Celia Garcia.”

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