By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR On Wednesday night, the Livingston Manor Wildcats hosted the Roscoe Blue Devils in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division VI basketball game.
But if the Livingston Manor Central School Board of Education had not recently decided to opt out of a plan to have the neighboring schools field merged sports teams this winter, the Wildcats and Blue Devils would have been playing together against a common opponent.
So is it better for the schools to have separate basketball teams or would it be more beneficial to have a combined team? A few fans who were at Wednesday night’s game offered their opinion on the matter.
“I think separate teams is better,” said Ed Hessinger, who lives in White Sulphur Springs but was at the game to cheer on his brother-in-law Mike Mills, a member of the Manor team. “You see your teammates all day at school in classes and know them very well. I’m not saying you can’t have friends from other schools, but you spend a lot of time with your teammates at your school.”
Tim Mills of Livingston Manor, who is Mike Mills’ father, based his opinion on the impact on the community.
“I think whatever is best for the kids and communities is what should be done,” Tim Mills said. “If combining the teams is best, then that’s OK. If having separate teams is better, that’s alright, too. But we have to remember we’re all in one town the Town of Rockland.”
Stephen Dreher of Roscoe wants the players to be able to learn.
“I see sports as a place for learning and education more than competition,” said Stephen Dreher, whose son Brad Dreher is a member of the Roscoe Blue Devils team. “I would rather see these kids play the game and have fun than play the game and worry only about winning.
“I think having the separate teams has been OK,” Stephen Dreher added.
Wayne Melvin of Roscoe concurred.
“I like separate teams,” said Wayne Melvin, whose son Tyler Melvin plays for the Blue Devils. “Kids have more of a chance to play with separate teams. In baseball and football, it might be better to have combined teams because you need more players. But with basketball, I like separate teams.”
Second quarter is
key to Manor victory
As for the game itself, the two teams played a very competitive first quarter. Those opening eight minutes featured three ties and two lead changes.
With 4:55 on the scoreboard clock, the score was knotted at 6-6. But for the rest of the quarter, the Wildcats outscored the Blue Devils 13 to 6 to take a 19-12 lead.
Turning up the defense a notch, Manor held Roscoe to just six second quarter points as it opened up a 17-point advantage en route to the comfortable 73-45 victory.
Manor improved its record to 6-3 overall and 4-0 in Div. VI. Roscoe dropped to 1-8 overall and 1-2 in Div. VI.
“The second quarter was the key,” Roscoe Coach Fred Ahart said. “Manor outscored us 16 to 6 in that quarter to increase a seven-point lead to a 17-point lead.
“They deserve the credit tonight,” Ahart added. “They have a fine team. Their press caused us problems and they did a great job of rebounding. I think rebounding was a very important factor tonight.”
With 4:04 remaining in the third period, Manor pushed its lead to 30 points at 48-18 when senior forward Kenny Fisk scored a basket in the lane.
Manor Coach Charlie Hicks was pleased to see his team improve its play after the first quarter.
“It was tough in the first quarter,” Hicks said. “Their defense put pressure on us in that quarter and we couldn’t get into our offensive game plan. We couldn’t get the ball in the middle and score.
“But in the second quarter, we went a little deeper,” he added. “We had guys come off the bench and get our offense going. Josh Janik, Nick Ziemis and Brandon Pagan all gave us a spark coming off the bench.”
Hicks also lauded some of his other players.
“Kenny Fisk played a great game on offense and defense,” Hicks commented. “Troy Correa had eight assists and did a good job of managing our offense. And Mike Mills had 10 rebounds and four assists.
“It was a nice team win,” Hicks concluded.