SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Valentine’s Day and National Heart Month call forth either romantic thoughts or the need to safeguard cardiac health. Heart is vital in evincing valiant efforts under trying circumstances and presents a symbol of the human capacity for compassion. In all these regards, it was a heartfelt week. This past week literally tugged at the heartstrings in basketball, indoor track and wrestling.
Basketball highlights included the dramatic Division IV rematch between the boys of Sullivan West and Liberty. Back on January 10, Liberty appeared to have won a key league fray with its archrival, but the district’s discovery of an ineligible player prompted the decision to forfeit all wins to date, including that win over the Westies. Since then, the Bulldogs punched their ticket to sectionals but Liberty needed to win the February 10 rematch to keep its appeal bid alive for inclusion in the Big Dance. After jumping out to a 26-9 lead at the half, the game’s polarity switched when Indians’ star Eddie Byrd received his second technical foul and was ejected from the game. Sullivan West went on a 16-8 tear in the third quarter that included a trio of treys from E.J. Franskevicz to close the gap to seven heading into the final frame. The Bulldogs whittled down the lead to two before Liberty’s Taylor Vankeuren iced four crucial free throws to secure the 46-40 win. Liberty (4-11, 1-3 OCIAA) hosts O’Neill on February 15 in a do-or-die league tilt. A win will likely secure a sectional berth, while a loss will dash such hopes. Sullivan West (11-5, 2-2 OCIAA) can ill afford to lose to the Raiders and drop to a lower seed in the big tourney. They’d like to avoid Burke or Ellenville in the opening round. Fallsburg looked to claim a share of the Division V lead as it hosted S.S. Seward, the only team to beat them in league play. But the Spartans completed the season sweep with a 59-53 win. Monticello (5-11, 2-2 OCIAA) kept its sectional hopes alive with a dramatic 47-45 win over Port Jervis. Like Liberty, the Monties face a senior-night catharsis as they host Goshen in a must-win game on February 15.
In girls basketball, Tri-Valley (13-1, 6-1 OCIAA) sustained its first loss of the year as the Lady Bears fell to Tuxedo 52-46. Tri-Valley beat Tuxedo 39-32 in January. The two teams are still vying for the number-two seed in Class C. Tri-Valley needs to defeat Eldred twice this week, as well as Fallsburg on the Lady Comets’ senior night on February 16, to secure home-court advantage prior to the finals. The Lady Bears handily defeated Sullivan West 64-17 in the Fourth Annual Coaches Versus Cancer Classic. The event, which also featured a 65-42 Monticello win over Liberty, a 48-22 Livingston Manor girls win over Eldred and wins by the SCCC mens and womens teams over Manhattan CC, raised over $3,000 dollars for the Catskill Regional Oncology Unit. The event was dedicated to the memory of Cierra Boone, who lost a valiant battle against cancer. She was a cousin of Dante Agnew who plays for the Generals.
In indoor track at the OCIAA championships, Eldred had its best ever performance in the storied event, winning three gold medals. The boys team finished fifth and the girls came in ninth in a field of 20 schools. Alex Campanella won the 1600 in 4:23.43 and the 3200 in 9:30.85. Breanna Brucher won the pole vault with a personal best leap of 10-0. Eldred’s Christine Donnelly took fourth in the 1000 in 3:02.22, while Hunter Proscia was fourth in the 1600 in 4:30.34 and fifth in the 3200 with a season-best time of 9:51.28. Monticello’s Shane Jackson took second in the 55 in 6.73 and fifth in the 300 in 38.19. Sullivan West’s Rachel Deppa was second in the 1500 racewalk in 7:44.34. Westie Todd Roeder was fourth in the weight throw with a heave of 44-07. Liberty’s Amanda Bertholf was second in the pole vault with a mark of 9-0. Tri-Valley’s Aric Boyes was second in the shot put with a mark of 43-09.25, while Liberty’s Michael Hinton took fourth with a throw of 42-08.25. At the storied Millrose Games held at the Armory, Tri-Valley’s Dominique Darby won the silver medal in the weight throw with a mark of 46-06. Teammate Heidi Furman took fourth in 39-06.50. In wrestling, Liberty’s Andy Martinez (182) won his second consecutive Section 9 Division II title via an 8-2 decision over Highland’s A.J. Buchanan.
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