LOCH SHELDRAKE -- Saturday featured a tripleheader inside SUNY Sullivan's Paul Gerry Fieldhouse. The final result were victories for the Men's JV team, followed by wins by the varsity men's and …
LOCH SHELDRAKE -- Saturday featured a tripleheader inside SUNY Sullivan's Paul Gerry Fieldhouse. The final result were victories for the Men's JV team, followed by wins by the varsity men's and women's teams over their respective opponents. The men and women both improved to 20-2 on the season. Here's how things played out ....
Generals survive Monroe College
Early on it looked like another easy win for a SUNY Sullivan's men's basketball team that's ranked fifth in the nation. Despite trading baskets in the first few minutes, the Generals jumped out to a 14-7 lead prompting Monroe College-Bronx to call a timeout. While the visitors battled courageously, the Generals continued their intensity to mount a 52-35 halftime advantage.
That lead grew to 67-41 at one point in the second half, until Monroe College-Bronx dominated the next ten minutes of the game, outscoring the Generals 33-15. This meant that with four minutes remaining, the SUNY Sullivan lead had shrunk to 82-77.
However, that would be as close as the visitors got to the Generals, who made key baskets when it counted and took care of business at the charity stripe to earn a 90-77 win, improving to 20-2 overall.
“I thought we played well in stretches,” SUNY Sullivan Men's Basketball Coach Brent Wilson said. “I do think we struggled to keep our focus for the entirety of the game. However, I'm happy that we were able to finish it and get a win.”
The Generals' leading scorers were Jalen Reneau, Kendall Robinson and Darius Lee with 20, 19 and 16 points respectively.
Reflecting on their success so far this season, Wilson said, “Our sophomores have led us all season. I also feel our depth has been very good all year. We have a few freshman that have really grown into major contributors as the season has progressed.”
Barons can't stop Lady Generals' basketball barrage
The final game of a busy Saturday at SUNY Sullivan was by far the least competitive. The Lady Generals have been rolling through the competition and the visiting Rowan College-Burlington County felt the pressure from the get go.
SUNY Sullivan's women's team, in their first year under head coach Derek Marchione and ranked No. 17 in the country, used the press to disrupt the Lady Barons offense. Producing turnover after turnover and converting them into easy baskets, SUNY Sullivan led 28-18 after one quarter and 60-27 at the half. They kept their foot on the gas in the remainder of the game, picking up a 98-74 win.
“That's how we play, we come out aggressive and we press 94 feet all game,” Marchione said. “I thought we started a little slow and they hit some shots in the beginning, but eventually our pressure and our energy wore them out and they started to have turnovers and we converted off those on the fast break.”
What's scary about the 2019-20 Lady Generals is that they are a very young team, and start four freshman, so teams in the National Junior College Athletic Association will have to contend with them next year as well.
On keys to the team's success this season, “We have a really talented group that plays hard and they bring it every game. I think that's been our biggest thing … consistently playing hard. Our first five, first six players are definitely in sync now. We've strung together a bunch of wins … 15 in a row … and we're playing well at the right time and have to continue to build, get ready for region and hopefully districts and then hopefully the national tournament.”
Johnahyah Curry and Adrienne Graves both scored 22 points to lead the Lady Generals.
The SUNY Sullivan Basketball Program, both mens and womens, has had tremendous success in recent history, all one has to do is look at the banners hanging around the fieldhouse. A new coach and almost entirely new team hasn't slowed the Lady Generals' program down at all, and like Director of Athletics and Dean of Student Development Services Chris DePew likes to say, “We don't rebuild, we reload.”
While this is Marchione's first collegiate head coaching job, the 27-year-old does have experience as an assistant at the college level and was a head coach at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut, where he was highly successful and saw many of his athletes go Division I.
Marchione noted he's happy with the move over to Sullivan County and said he loved working for DePew. He added that, “We have a lot of support from the rest of the school as well, a great athletic department and it's been a seamless transition.”
Tonight both Generals' teams are on the floor, hosting Mid-Hudson Conference rival Westchester Community College, with the women and men playing at 5 and 7 p.m. respectively.
Both teams will have the opportunity to defend their 2019 Region XV crowns at the end of the month when they once again host the Region XV Tournament on February 29 and March 1.