Talking Sports

The ‘Game of Threes’

Posted 2/14/24

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — With heartfelt apologies to George R.R. Martin—the prolific author who penned “A Song of Ice and Fire,” which served as the basis for the eight-season …

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Talking Sports

The ‘Game of Threes’


LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — With heartfelt apologies to George R.R. Martin—the prolific author who penned “A Song of Ice and Fire,” which served as the basis for the eight-season swords-and-dragons fantasy series titled “The Game of Thrones”—the varsity boys’ basketball matchup between the home team Bulldogs of Sullivan West and the Chester Academy Hambletonians could have been called a Game of Threes.

In the hard-fought battle on the hardwood, three-pointers ruled the day, electrified the crowd, and in effect decided the outcome of the contest. 

For the record, on January 29 both squads posted a combined total of 22 three-pointers from outside the arch: SW 12 and Chester 10.

No matter how you count it, either by the new math or old-school pen-and-pencil method, that’s a notable number of “threes.”

And speaking of threes: with only a few seconds on the game clock remaining, with the Bulldogs up by three points, Chester’s Jayden Mercado sent the contest into overtime by swishing a three-pointer to a tie, 66-66.

In the first frame, the Hambletonians rambled to a 12-point lead, only to watch it vanish in the second period as Sullivan West rebounded by out-posting them 25-11.

In the final moments of the third period, both squads mounted a defensive war to tie the game 50-50, and at 2:31 in the last inning of regulation play it was 61-61.

And then at the close of regulation play, Mercado, a junior point guard, sent it into extra innings.

As the four minutes of OT ticked along, Chester outlasted the home team to record a 78-73 win in the scorebook, marking their second win over Sullivan West. (That was December 20, when they defeated the Bulldogs by double-digits, 64-44.)

Sullivan West’s top scorers: 

Matthew DuBois (23 points, including 4 three-pointers); Evan Ebert (17, including 4 three-pointers); Jacob Hubert (17, including 4 three-pointers); Austin Nystrom (7); and Allyn Walter (7).

Chester’s top guns: 

Andre Jenkins (23, including a three-pointer); Brandon Jenkins (18, including 5 three-pointers); Jayden Mercado (17, including 2 three-pointers); James Musco (8, including 1 three-pointer); and Robert Berkeley (1 three-pointer).

Jon Marsilio serves as helmsman of Chester Academy’s boys’ varsity hoopsters (8-6). The team is captained by Andre Jenkins and Robert Berkeley.

“Sullivan West plays a very aggressive zone defense,” he said. “It changes things up… looks like one thing, but it’s really something else, and it throws a lot of teams off. It’s tough to adjust to that, and they played their hearts out.”

Sullivan West coach Rony Padu said of the game, “It was a good game, and we’re a good team. We have to buckle down and get it done. It was a learning experience.

“It’s definitely the most points we’ve scored in a while, and we needed a full-court defensive game, which is what we got.”

The Bulldogs (4-8) are captained on the floor by Jacob Hubert, a 17-year-old senior point guard, and Matthew DuBois, a 16-year-old junior shooting guard. 

“I thought we played a great game tonight,” said Hubert. “Obviously it wasn’t the way we wanted it to turn out, but it’s the best basketball we’ve played here in a while. We got the crowd out, and gave them what they came here for.” 

Asked his take on the game, DuBois replied, “I was really proud of our team last night and how we played. I feel like this was definitely the best basketball I have been a part of in my varsity career so far.

“In regard to the season, there have been some ups and downs, but as a team I feel like we have greatly improved and am happy with the progress we’re making.” 

As the teams raged up and down the floor, the refs were challenged to keep pace with the spirited action. They had their hands full calling the fouls and keeping track of the three-pointers.

Brent Lawrence, former chief of the Fallsburg Police Department, who retired after 31 years of dedicated service to the community, is still active in maintaining law and order—this time on the hardwood.

During a short break in the contest, he remarked on the intensity of the defensive action by both teams under the glass.

“These guys are playing really hard, some good basketball,” he said, before returning to enforcing the rules of hoops.


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