SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — The New Year has started with a bang and a roar and a number of iconic non-league and league basketball games that set the stage for imminent division battles. In the abbreviated 18-game regular season, garnering a .500 winning percentage overall or in one’s division authors a trip to sectionals, so every game matters, especially league frays.
In boys hoops, Fallsburg (5-2, 2-1 OCIAA) dominated Eldred (4-3, 1-2 OCIAA) 81-50 in a Division V clash as Michael Robinson led all scorers with 18. Bray Curreri had 14 for the Yellow Jackets. Earlier in the week, Fallsburg nearly pulled off an upset league win over S.S. Seward but lost in OT as the Spartans won the game on the free throw line. Eldred defeated Chapel Field 41-38. Sullivan West defeated Tri-Valley 58-48 in a hotly contested game played in the Dawg Pound. Patrick Pierce led all scorers with 18 points on the night as the Bulldogs overcame a 21-10 first-quarter deficit. The Bulldogs improved their record to 5-3 with a subsequent 56-38 win over Chapel Field. Tri-Valley ended its week at 3-4 with a 52-44 league loss to Seward. A debut league game featuring Sullivan West at Liberty will be critical to both teams as they begin their quest for sectional contention. Liberty manhandled Chester 66-38, as Eddie Byrd poured in 18 to pace the 3-3 Indians. Monticello beat O’Neill 47-44 as Anthony Gray intercepted a pass and fired in a trey as time expired down in Highland Falls. The Monties (2-6) lost to Minisink Valley 69-64.
In girls hoops, Tri-Valley (4-0, 2-0 OCIAA) edged Chester 37-36 for its second league win against no defeats. They also beat Seward 51-27 as Erin Smith poured in 12 points. They travelled to Tuxedo, also 2-0, to test their mettle against the Lady Tornadoes. Tuxedo beat T-V in the 2010 Section 9 finals and moved up to Class B last year. The Lady Bears won the title in 2011. Sullivan West got its first win of the season as it defeated Roscoe 28-19. Krysten Herbert scored nine points for the 1-4 Lady Bulldogs. Eldred (4-3) fell to Livingston Manor (2-4) by the score of 31-18.
Monticello hosted its Second Annual Cheerleading Competition on January 7. Fallsburg was the sole Sullivan County participant, as the Lady Comets took fourth among the small school varsity squads. It was a rousing morning of outstanding athleticism and style. Newburgh drew ooh’s and ah’s with its sterling aerial antics, as cheerleaders soared to the rafters before being deftly caught by teammates. The OCIAA championships are slated for Kingston High School on February 18. Cheerleading is indeed a sport with its rigorous stunts, lifts, synchronicity, jumps, basket catches and flexibility.
The following Sullivan County athletes are current leaders in their events in Section 9: 1500, Autumn Bender (T-V), 5:17.78; High jump, Katelynn Greffrath (T-V), 4-10; Triple jump, Hannah Feinman (SW), 31-5; Shot put, Mareena DiMilia (T-V), 38-11.75 (school record); and 3200, Jim Bernstein (T-V), 10:16.90.
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