Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Sullivan West and Monticello squared off during the season opener for both teams Monday night. Host Monticello handily won the game, 79-32.
Story by Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO December 6, 2013 You could blame it on a case of overconfidence after the Sullivan West boys’ basketball team beat Monticello in last week’s unofficial BCANY scrimmage, but Bulldogs' coach Bruce Nober offered no excuses for his team’s lackluster performance in Monday's non-league season opener for both teams; a 79-32 blowout victory for Monticello.
"We didn't do much good out there today," said Nober. "I don't think we ever got into the flow. They took us out of the game right from the get-go and we never got to recover."
Out of the game early indeed, as the host Panthers opened the contest on a 10-1 run and never looked back. "This is a tough place to play for sure, but it's no excuse," added Nober.
Sullivan West (0-1) only managed five first quarter points and went into the locker room down 42-15 at half.
Monticello (1-0), on the other hand, seemed to be in mid-season form, transitioning a stifling defense and command of the boards into easy points.
"I've been trying to stress our defense and our improvement on that end," said Monticello coach Chris Russo. "For the first two weeks we worked about 90 percent on our new offense and just worked on some small fundamental things on defense.
“Since we started scrimmaging the last few weeks we added a few things to the defense. We were much better on the ball today than we've been in any of our scrimmages. We were able to get some really good turnovers, and it turned into points for us which was great."
Sophomore JV call-up Donovan Williams led all scorers with 22 points for the Monties, adding four steals in an equally strong defensive performance.
"He played really, really well," said Russo. "We weren't really sure where we were going to have him [when he was first brought up to the varsity]. We do have a big team. I told him he was going to have to earn his way into playing time and well, he just really has.
“He's been practicing really well and tonight he was outstanding. He just sees the floor really well and he's gotten so much better defensively.”
Sullivan West didn't fare much better the second half as a deep Monticello squad didn’t give them an inch.
"We are deep," said Russo. "We've got 14 players on the roster right now and every kid does something positive for us. "We're very long and very athletic. It's just great to look at the bench and say 'you can get in and do something; you can get in and do something too.' I was really really proud with how we played and handled the game."
Russo wasn't expecting a blowout coming in.
"I was a little worried,” he said. “I just wasn't sure how we'd come out of dealing with the vacation, Thanksgiving and the weather issues. Our last practice wasn't all that great either, but they sure came out fired up tonight and let our defense fuel our offense."
Sha-Shawn Drayton added 20 points for Monticello who had 11 different players score on the night. Junior Brian Stauch led Sullivan West with eight points.