A bittersweet moment in time

By TED WADDELL
Posted 2/26/20

LAKE HUNTINGTON NY — On Friday, February 21, Sullivan West hosted a non-league girls’ varsity game of hoops between the Lady Bulldogs and the visiting Lady Eagles of John S. Burke …

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A bittersweet moment in time

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LAKE HUNTINGTON NY — On Friday, February 21, Sullivan West hosted a non-league girls’ varsity game of hoops between the Lady Bulldogs and the visiting Lady Eagles of John S. Burke Catholic.

While the home team didn’t fare all that well, as they lost 56-20, the evening marked a bittersweet moment in the high school basketball careers of a trio of seniors, as it was their final game on the home court hardwood: Brooke Kloss, Maggie Russell and Keri Burr.

In the words of Lady Bulldogs coach Pat Donovan, “These young ladies have given a great deal of time, effort and commitment to the Sullivan West girls’ basketball program over the last six years. They have represented their school, community and families with the utmost dignity and respect, and maintained the positive reputation of Sullivan West girls’ basketball.

“Throughout their tenure, they have been instrumental in showing the younger players on the team what it means to be a Sullivan West basketball player. Their leadership and loyalty will be sincerely missed… We hope that the lessons learned here on the basketball court will help them in their future endeavors.”

In a lovely “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” moment, and a welcome break from all the recent strident political strife and turmoil, the home team seniors presented gifts to their “Burke Five” counterparts (Jamaica Octaviano, Brenna Costello, Noelle Burlew, Jackie Costello and Caileigh Costello) before taking center stage for senior recognition night.

Brooke Kloss was accompanied by her parents Trina and Wayne; Maggie Russell by her folks Karen and Boomer, along with her sister Reagan; Keri Burr by her parents Christina and Brett.

Kloss, #23, said of the event, her final game on the home hardwood, and teammates, “Oh my gosh! The emotions are running high right now… I want to cry because it’s the last time I’m ever going to be on this court… I love them all, and we’ll be together forever.”

“I thought it was crazy, like we were the only older people,” said Russell, #5, of the younger up-and-coming players. “It made me happy to see every single one of them look up to us on senior night.”

Burr, #11, echoed her fellow seniors about the mix of emotions: “There’s sadness, there’s happiness, and a little bit of anger because you wish you could have done better for your team… Like I’ve said before, on the court and off the court, we’re together. We’re in it for the long run. It’s sad to have to step off the court, but we’re family.”

Burke (14-8 overall, 8-0 league) is helmed by first-year coach Shawn Thomas, and the Lady Eagles out netted Sullivan West (5-15 overall, 0-4 league) in all four frames: 17-9, 16-4, 14-2 and 9-5.

Leading scorers for Sullivan West (5-15 overall, 0-4 league): Keri Burr (8 points including a 3-pointer), Riley Ernst (8).

Burke’s top guns: Brenna Costello (23 points including five 3-pointers). Caileigh Costello (16 including two 3-pointers), Noelle Burlew (5 including a 3-pointer).

Stats from the free-throw line: Sullivan West 1/4 (25 percent), Burke 6/10 (60 percent).

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