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BCANY Coaches vs Cancer Classic celebrates 15 years

Anthony Morgano
Posted 2/13/24

LOCH SHELDRAKE and MONTICELLO — The Basketball Coaches Association of New York hosted their 15th annual Coaches vs Cancer Classic over the weekend and it featured the boys and girls from …

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BCANY Coaches vs Cancer Classic celebrates 15 years


LOCH SHELDRAKE and MONTICELLO — The Basketball Coaches Association of New York hosted their 15th annual Coaches vs Cancer Classic over the weekend and it featured the boys and girls from Eldred, Fallsburg, Liberty, Monticello, Sullivan West and Tri-Valley. With games starting at 4 p.m. on Friday and ending at 4 p.m. on Saturday, the teams had plenty of time to shine at both SUNY Sullivan’s Paul Gerry Fieldhouse and “The Pit” in Monticello.

Of the six contests, both Monticello teams, both Tri-Valley teams and the two Sullivan West teams all earned victories over their respective opponents.

Kicking off the Classic

The opening matchup of the BCANY Coaches vs Cancer Classic featured a league matchup between the Tri-Valley and Fallsburg boys. The matchup was the third of the season between the two squads, with Fallsburg winning the first round in the Ellenville tournament and Tri-Valley winning the second at home. The rubber match found the Comets without one of their key players, Isaiah Young, and it showed as the Bears were able to recover from a slow start and earn a 51-32 victory.

Tri-Valley trailed for the entirety of the first quarter until a late three-pointer evened the score. The Bears held Fallsburg to just four points in the second quarter as they put up 15 to finish the first half with an 11-point lead.

Fallsburg opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to get within eight points, but that was as close as they would come as Tri-Valley ended the third with a 41-25 lead.

Tri-Valley was able to coast to the 51-32 victory after outscoring the Comets in each of the final three quarters.

“Our goal was to grow with the season after moving up to Class B,” Tri-Valley Coach Kevin Delaney said. “We’ve been able to compete with the better teams and we’re growing in the right direction.”

“Tri-Valley played together and did a good job of moving the ball around,” Fallsburg Coach Lionel White said. “We came out flat and we just have to get better one game at a time.”

Middle Quarters Propel Monticello in Middle Game

The Lady Panthers and Lady RedHawks squared off in the second game of the evening immediately following the finale of the Fallsburg and Tri-Valley boys. Despite a relatively even first and fourth quarter, it was the second and third that propelled Monticello to a 35-25 victory at the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.

After a few lead changes early in the quarter, Liberty was able to score seven straight to make it 9-3 in the early going. Monticello answered back with a 5-0 run of their own, cutting the RedHawks lead to just one by the end of the quarter.

Trailing 9-8 to start the second, Monticello ramped up the defensive intensity as they held Liberty scoreless throughout the second quarter. The Lady Panthers netted seven points in the frame to take a 15-9 lead into the break.

Monticello continued their balanced attack in the third quarter as they outscored Liberty 9-3 in the frame to take a 24-12 lead into the final frame.

Liberty got their offense going again in the fourth, but the 12-point deficit proved to be too much as Monticello nearly kept up with the scoring. Liberty had a 13-point fourth quarter, doubling their lead after the first three, but Monticello’s 11 in the quarter kept the RedHawks at bay as they went on to win 35-25.

“This is a great event and an amazing experience for the girls,” Liberty Coach Tim Johnson said. “We’re a young group but we keep getting better.”

Monticello Coach Sheila Burns said, “We started a little slow but cleaned it up in the second half. We rely on our post players a lot, and they did a much better job in the second half.”

Friday Night Finale

The Monticello and Liberty boys faced off in the final game of the first night of BCANY Coaches vs Cancer action. Monticello’s multi-faceted offense and opportunistic defense proved to be too much for the RedHawks as the Panthers cruised to a 62-33 final.

Monticello sped out to an early 6-0 lead before Liberty was able to net two free throws, and their scoring continued to come in bunches throughout the night. The Panthers, after handily defeating Goshen on Thursday night, finished the first quarter with a 16-5 lead over Liberty. They increased the lead to 24-10 by halftime. Monticello had a monstrous third quarter, doubling their score and boosting their lead to 27 as they took a 48-21 lead with the final eight minutes to play.

Despite Liberty’s best attempts to make it close, Monticello consistently had an answer, expanding their lead further in the fourth on the way to a wire-to-wire victory 62-33.

“Defensively we get after it, that’s who we are,” Monticello Coach Chris Russo said after the win; his 150th career win to be exact. “Teams want to slow us down, but we’re at our best when we can push the tempo.”

When speaking on the BCANY Coaches vs Cancer Classic Russo said, “It’s something special that we’ve been able to do, and SUNY Sullivan has been gracious enough to host us.”

“The kids played hard, but we couldn’t put the ball in the basket and we had a lot of turnovers,” Liberty Coach Matt Robinson said. “Monticello is a good team, and only being down 14 at halftime was a win for us. Getting to play in this every year is awesome. It’s great that Chris [Russo] does this.”

Into “The Pit”

Saturday’s first matchup was between the girls of Sullivan West and Eldred, as the two teams squared off in the morning at Monticello High School. Sullivan West handled business from start to finish as they went on to win 50-26 in the first of three games.

Sullivan West started with a ferocious offensive attack, scoring 28 in the first quarter behind 11 from Nicole Reeves as she went for a game-high 15. After jumping out to a 28-6 lead, Sullivan West’s offense scored a quiet three points in the second quarter as they entered the break up 31-15.

The Lady Bulldogs got back to work in the third quarter, putting up an additional 16 points with six different players netting a bucket as they extended their lead to 27, taking a 47-20 advantage into the fourth.

Eldred outscored Sullivan West 6-3 in the fourth, but the deficit was far too much for the Lady Yellowjackets to overcome as the game reached the 50-26 final.

“This is a fantastic event and we’ve gotten to be a part of it for a long time,” Sullivan West Coach Pat Donovan said after the game. “We played well and had the opportunity to get girls some varsity experience.”

“Sullivan West has an intense defense and press that got to us over the first three quarters,” Eldred Coach June Hallock said. When asked about the Coaches vs Cancer Classic Hallock said, “I’m proud that we get to be a part of it. This is a very good event and it’s for a great cause.”

Bulldogs Rebound with Big Win Over Eldred

Sullivan West, after a tough loss to Port Jervis on Friday night, had a quick turnaround as they faced off against Eldred just after noon on Saturday. The Bulldogs were able to take control early and cruise to a 63-37 victory.

Through the first few minutes of the first quarter, both Sullivan West and Eldred seemed pretty evenly matched. The teams exchanged blows and played a tight, physical first quarter until Sullivan West was able to scrape together a 12-2 run to close out the quarter with a 23-14 lead.

After getting hot to close out the first, the Bulldogs stayed hot in the second as they outscored Eldred 10-6 to increase their lead to 13 by halftime.

Coming out of halftime, Eldred’s offense continued to struggle to get anything going as the Bulldogs outscored them 14-6 in the third quarter, bringing the game to 47-26 to start the fourth quarter.

Eldred opened the final frame on a 9-3 run, cutting the lead down to 15 for the Bulldogs, but Sullivan West ended the game on a 13-2 run to reach the 63-37 final.

“We have to work on our execution,” Eldred Coach Bill Furler said. “We call plays but weren’t running them, and it makes it difficult to get anything going.”

“We needed a big game after last night,” Sullivan West Coach Ronj Padu said. “Being able to play in ‘The Pit’ and raise money and awareness is always great.”

Curtain Call for the BCANY Coaches vs Cancer Classic

The Tri-Valley Lady Bears and Fallsburg Lady Comets closed out the 15th annual BCANY Coaches vs Cancer Classic as they faced off on Saturday afternoon.

Tri-Valley’s press created an immediate disruption for Fallsburg, and the Bears sped out to an 18-2 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Fallsburg’s defense was able to stave off many of Tri-Valley’s attempts throughout the game, but the sheer number of offensive possessions for Tri-Valley led to the overwhelming score.

Fallsburg was able to break through the press a bit better in the second quarter, as they scored eight points. Tri-Valley, however, was able to increase their score by 15 as they took a 33-10 lead into halftime.

Tri-Valley continued to outpace the Lady Comets in the third quarter, outscoring Fallsburg 14-7 and making it a 30-point game with one quarter remaining.

Fallsburg’s offense won the fourth quarter 10-4, but Tri-Valley was able to hold on for the 51-27 victory.

“We played better against Tri-Valley than last time,” Coach Mike Ballard said after the game. “We had some underclassmen step up. Tri-Valley’s press hurt us and we’re getting towards the end of the season so we have to clean up some mistakes.”

Ballard continued, “I also wanted to thank Coach Russo and BCANY for hosting this event. It is a great tradition and we’re glad to be a part of it.”

“With our group in the first half we executed well,” Tri-Valley Coach Jason Closs said. “We were able to get 12 girls in today and they played well. Fallsburg doesn’t go away, they’re a scrappy team.”

When asked about the Coaches vs Cancer Classic Closs said, “It’s an incredible undertaking for Chris [Russo]. Kudos to Chris for hosting this event each year, it’s a nice event that the kids look forward to.”


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