Jon Dinan | Democrat
Sophomore Willie Williams averaged 15 points and 16 rebounds over two games as SUNY Sullivan captured the Columbus State Community College Basketball Tournament in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend.
Generals make discovery in Columbus
Story by Jon Dinan
Sullivan Coach Kevin Devantier says the main reason he takes his basketball team on the road every year to play nationally-ranked teams is to “find out how good they can be.”
After this past weekend’s performance in the Columbus State CC Tournament, the Generals have to think they’re very good. They won the tournament, knocking off two formidable Division II opponents, including host Columbus State in the championship game.
“It was a great weekend,” said DeVantier. “This is the reason we book these tournaments to test them.
“They found out they can be national contenders. Their expectations are now even higher and higher.”
The Generals knocked off Niagara Community College of New York 76-62 in the first round. Niagara entered the game ranked No. 16 in the country in Division II.
In the championship game against Columbus State, Marcus Henderson hit two clutch free throws with 11 seconds left to seal the three-point victory.
DeVantier noted the play of Willie Williams, who averaged 15 points and 16 rebounds for the tournament and Antwoun Gattling, who scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the title game.
Sullivan had traveled to Monroe Community College in early November to play in another competitive tournament. There, they fell to nationally-ranked Monroe, a loss DeVantier said may have helped this weekend.
“Losses are sometimes the best tools,” said DeVantier. “We were not as focused against Monroe as we should have been and they jumped on us early. We fought back and made a game of it, but it was too late.”
DeVantier admits his team “rises to the occcasion when they are challenged,” but has to remind them not to look past the Region XV competition they regularly play.
“We hope these types of trips sharpen their focus that you have to be ready for every team and every game.”
The Generals (9-2, 4-0 Region XV) now play six Region XV games before their one-month winter break an interruption DeVantier calls “terrible because we basically have to start over with our conditioning.”