By Fred Stabbert III
LAKE HUNTINGTON After taking their show on the road twice last week and coming up short Sullivan West returned to the friendly confines of Lake Huntington Wednesday night to pick up an important division victory over James I. O’Neill.
“We started out pretty strong,” Sullivan West Coach Bruce Nober said. “Especially on the defensive end.”
The Bulldogs dominated the first half, holding O’Neill to just three second quarter points enroute to a 30-11 halftime lead.
But things turned around quickly in the second half. O’Neill applied a full-court man-to-man press that troubled Sullivan West and helped whittle the lead to four points. But that’s as close as the Raiders could get as the game ended 49-45.
Nober was pleased to come away with the win, which put the Bulldogs at 2-1 in Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV and 7-4 overall.
“It was a solid team effort,” Nober said. “We were able to work the ball down low, had some transition baskets and played good defense.
“Our goal is to make the sectionals,” he said.
O’Neill Coach Debra Crowe said, “I give Sullivan West a lot of credit. I see a big improvement [over last year].”
But Crowe, who has been at O’Neill for 30 years, also lamented her club’s performance, especially in two key areas.
“We missed seven layups in the first half and 15 layups during the game,” Crowe said. “That’s a big statistic.
“We also missed 9 of our 13 free throws there’s the game,” she said.
The Raiders dropped to 1-3 in divisional play and 5-7 overall.
Leading the way for Sullivan West was Patrick Pierce, who had 14 points, and point guard John Masten, who tallied 13, eight of which came in the frantic fourth quarter as O’Neill was closing in.
Jordan Baskerville led O’Neill with 11 points.