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LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Basketball and, I suppose, other sports and, by extension, life in
general, is like an ocean mirrored in the ever-changing ebb and flow of time.
The mesmerizing action of moving water eddies and riffles to mark the presence of ancient rocks etched and eroded by the passage of eons, and the almost unfathomable depths of spirit and raw emotion.
Ever forward, always changing, nothing remains the same except the movement of time, and man’s journey through the mists.
Solitary footprints in the sand, here and then erased to be born again, washed away with the incoming tide.
And so, we get to the girl’s varsity league game of hoops on Tuesday, February 5 between the hometown Lady Bulldogs of Sullivan West (12-3) and the Tri-Valley Lady Bears (8-5).
At the close of the first half, it looked like Sullivan West was headed for trouble, as the Lady Bears led 24-19 at the halftime buzzer.
In the third frame, the Lady Bulldogs pounced on the opposition, out-netting them 11-4, but in the final period Tri-Valley drilled a 3-pointer to tie it up 42-42 at the end of regulation play, in the wake of outgunning Sullivan West 14-12 in the final frame.
In the last minutes and seconds of the game, the outcome could have easily gone either way: at 2:20 it was tied 37-37, at 1:29 the home team led by one (40-39), at 0:58 they were up 42-39 and then came that stunning 3 by Tri-Valley’s Victoria Swett.
Although she only posted a five-spot in the scorebook, Swett made a 3 when it counted, electrifying both sides of the house.
The hard-fought game went into a mandated four-minute period of overtime.
In the end, the Lady Bears got washed out to sea as they got caught in a Sullivan West riptide in the extra innings.
Both teams gave it their best shot, but the Lady Bulldogs surfed to a 52-47 victory, as Sabrina Martinez ruled supreme, going 5-for-8 at the free throw line and drilled a bucket, Josephine Martinez was 2-for-2 at the line, and Isabel “Izzy” Nearing was 1-for-2 at the line, as Sullivan West posted 10 points in the scorebook during OT.
The Lady Bears racked up a total of 5 points in overtime: Jillian Mungeer aced a ‘three’, and Heather Winters posted ‘two’ to net a total of five points in overtime.
Sullivan’s West’s top guns: Sabrina Martinez (15 points), Kerintin Burr (14 points including two ‘3’s’), Izzy Nearing (12 points including a ‘3’) and Josephine Martinez (9 points including a ‘3’).
Tri-Valley: Diana TerBush (12 points, all ‘3’s’), Jillian Mungeer (10 points including two ‘3’s’), and Emily Starner (10 points).
“They played their hearts out,” said Lady Bears coach Gary TerBush of the intensity displayed by both teams.
“Hats off the Sullivan West, they played a great game,” he added.
The Lady Bears are lead by a trio of senior captains: Jillian Mungeer, Samantha Raymond and Emily Starner.
“”It was a very aggressive game on both sides, and they wanted it more,” said Mungeer, a 17-year old shooting guard, adding of the season, “We’ve had some tough losses, but we’re still pushin’.”
Raymond, an 18-year old center, said of the game, “I think we played our hardest at the end because we knew it was an important game.”
She noted that the Lady Bears lost most of their team to graduation last year, commenting on this season, “We grew together with the new girls coming up…”
Seventeen-year old guard Starner, said, “Our season is absolutely great…I’m so proud of everyone tonight, we wanted it, but Sullivan West wanted it more…”
Pat Donovan, coach of the Lady Bulldogs said his team struggled up until the end, when they rallied to put it away with the performance of a few “big time players”, as he credited the last ditch efforts of Kerintin Burr (14 points), Nearing “she had some big jump shots”, Kara Spath’s “big steal at the end” and of course Sabrina Martinez saving the day in overtime…“she played big at the end”.
“We very patient on offense (and) we play pretty close defense…” he added.
And then there’s the elephant in the room, in the form of the ever-cheering “Dawg Pound” and all the fans up in the stands.
“They’re like another player for us…that’s big for us,” said Donovan.
KerintinBurr, a 16-year old junior takes to the floor as a shooting guard for Sullivan West.
“It was extremely competitive…we worked really really hard, and never gave up, no matter what,” she said.
“We’re not just teammates, we’re family, we work together and get along…I think that’s why we’re successful.”
Maggie Herbert, 17, is junior who plays in the post position for the Lady Bulldogs.
“Our season is going great, we’re playing really good defense…Sabrina and Josephine (Martinez) have been really good this year, everyone is doing their part to win,” she said.
Time and tides really don’t wait for anyone, as noted early on by Saint Marher in 1225, and a bit later in history in Chaucer’s prologue to the Canterbury Tales, “The Clerk’s Tale” in approximately 1395.