Sullivan tames Wolverines in Division II final

By TED WADDELL
Posted 3/18/20

LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY – Taming a wolverine is not the easiest thing in the world. Just ask the Generals of SUNY Sullivan.

On Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, Sullivan County Community …

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Sullivan tames Wolverines in Division II final

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LOCH SHELDRAKE, NY – Taming a wolverine is not the easiest thing in the world. Just ask the Generals of SUNY Sullivan.

On Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, Sullivan County Community College hosted the NJCAA Division II men’s basketball tourney.

In the wake of the home team Generals winning the semi-final game against the Kats of Erie Community College on Saturday, on Sunday, March 8, they took on the Essex Community College Wolverines to decide who was going be named divisional champs.

In the first frame of a game the Generals’ seventh-year coach Brent Wilson called “ugly,” Sullivan staged a repeat of the opening of the previous day’s eventual victory as they were slow getting out of the starting blocks.

Despite trailing by several points in the first frame, Sullivan’s Darius Lee tied it up (36-36) at about the one-minute mark with a timely layup in the paint.

But alas, with five-seconds left on the halftime clock, Jalen Reneau fouled the Wolverines’ Etnik Peci, who then aced three-for-three at the free-throw line to send Essex off to the locker room ahead 39-36.

In a game that was tied twice, with the lead switching hands three times, Sullivan finally found its stride, edging Essex 76-70 at the final buzzer, as they caged the Wolverines 40-31 in the second half.

“We weren’t playing very well, we were sluggish and sloppy,” said Wilson. “We played much better defensively in the second half, boxing out against their two best scorers.”

He noted that Kendall Robinson and Khayri Dawson, a couple of the Generals leading netters, were feeling a bit under the weather but took to the hardwood in spite of it all.

 “They dug down deep to help us win the game,” said Wilson.

Sullivan’s standout shooters: Jordan Drain (13 points, 10 rebounds, eight out of 10 at the free-throw line), Darius Lee (20 points, 8 rebounds), Jasiah Lewis (13 points, 5 rebounds, five out of five at the free-throw line), Kendall Robinson (10 points, 7 rebounds) and Jalen Reneau (10 points, 2 rebounds).

Essex: Etnik Peci (24 points, 4 rebounds), Jaylen Robinson (14) and William Brown III (12 points, 6 rebounds).

Stats from the FTL:  Sullivan 18 out of 24 (75 percent) and Essex seven out of 9 (78 percent).

Next up for the Generals (28-2) and Lady Generals are the NJCAA National Championships, scheduled for March 17 to 21: the men’s team will play in Danville, Illinois, while the women’s squad will travel to Fort Huron, Wisconsin.

“We’re going out there to compete for a national championship,” said Wilson, adding in his words that his players aren’t going there so much for “the invitation,” but “they want to go out there and win the thing.”

Chris Depew, SUNY Sullivan’s athletic director has been at the helm of the college’s athletic department for 23 years, and was head of the men’s basketball program from 2000 to 2008.

In 2007, he took the Generals (undefeated 32-0) to a National Championship. As head coach, he took teams to the big show four times.

Here’s DePew’s take on the evolution of sports at SUNY Sullivan during the last two decades and counting as the local community college enters its second year in NJCAA Division II, having moved up the ladder from Division III: “We’ve put in a lot of time, effort and dedication into getting our programs where we wanted them to be… We don’t have to win national championships every year, but we need to be in the conversation.”

Looking ahead to the upcoming nationals, DePew said of SUNY Sullivan’s men and women’s teams, “I’m thrilled to death for both of our teams… We’re going to make some serious noise in two places.”

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