By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE The Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Generals are continuing to rebound well from a loss earlier this basketball season.
On Monday night at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse on SCCC’s Loch Sheldrake campus, the Generals defeated the visiting Dutchess Community College Falcons, 93-63, in a Mid-Hudson Conference game. It was SCCC’s third straight win since being defeated by Monroe Community College, 88-71, on Nov. 13 in the championship game of the Monroe Community College Tournament in Rochester.
“They are a very good team,” SCCC Coach Kevin DeVantier said of Monroe CC. “They are the fourth-ranked Division II junior college team in the country.
“They played very well in the game,” DeVantier added. “We played sloppy and didn’t shoot the ball well.”
The Generals reached the title game by defeating The Thomas School, 84-74, in the previous evening’s semifinals.
“The game was closer that the score indicates,” DeVantier explained of the Generals’ loss to Monroe CC. “With about six minutes left, we were only down two points. But in the last 1:50, we had to foul a lot to stop the clock and try to keep the game alive.”
While any defeat is disappointing, DeVantier views the loss to Monroe CC as a wake-up call for his team.
“It was a good early season loss,” he commented. “When you play sloppy and make mistakes, good teams like Monroe punish you. And that’s exactly what happened. But we can learn from the game and work to improve.”
SCCC certainly has responded positively to the loss. The team went on the road to beat Westchester Community College, 66-55, last Thursday night and Borough of Manhattan Community College, 80-49, last Saturday afternoon.
Dutchess Community College Coach Marc LoFaro didn’t mince words when commenting on his team’s 30-point loss to SCCC on Monday night.
“Our guys played as well as they could, but Sullivan is more talented than we are,” he said. “They are very quick and athletic. They can jump and shoot the ball well.”
With all that stacked against them Dutchess had little chance against a General team that was clicking on all cylinders, especially offensive rebounding and outside shooting.
“In all eight games we have played this season, we have won the battle of offensive rebounds,” DeVantier said. “Tonight, we did a great job on the offensive glass. We had 27 offensive rebounds. Anytime you can get 27 extra possessions, it’s good for your team.”
DeVantier also noted his team’s 3-point shooting a key to the win.
“They tried to pack in their defense with a 2-3 zone, but we were hitting shots from the outside,” he commented. “Frankie Drayton, Alex Garstka and Marvin Jean are all good outside shooters, so teams have to come out and guard them. When the teams do that, they have to guard Cleanthony Early and Willie Williams one-on-one with a post player. And there aren’t too many post players who can guard Cleanthony and Willie one-on-one.”
Dutchess CC (2-6, 0-3 Mid-Hudson Conference, 0-3 Region XV) held a brief 3-0 lead before the Generals methodically used their speed and inside rebounding strength to wear Dutchess down and take a commanding 40-26 halftime lead.
“Their transition offense was very good tonight,” LoFaro said of the Generals. “Many times they got down the court in a hurry and scored before we could set up our defense.
“And Sullivan had a big advantage in rebounding tonight,” LoFaro added. “They were getting second and third chances on several possessions. We were only getting one shot on most of our possessions.”
Early and Williams each recorded a double-double for the Generals (7-1, 1-0 Mid-Hudson Conference, 3-0 Region XV). Early finished with a game-high 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Williams netted 19 points and had 16 rebounds.
Jean finished with 12 points, and Garstka 11, including a trio of 3-point shots. Garstka also grabbed five rebounds.
Also contributing for the Generals were Frankie Drayton, who dished out six assists, and Dante Agnew, who recorded five assists.
Jonathan Gonzalez paced the Falcons with 19 points. Teammates Ronnell Epps and Absolu added 15 points and seven points, respectively.