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December 14, 2017
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Noble cause

Monticello’s Dante Smalls scores two of his game-high 20 points as the Panthers notch a 56-38 win over Liberty in the BCANY Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Monticello has won seven games in a row and sits atop Division III with an unblemished 5-0 league mark.
Photos by Richard A. Ross,

Fans came out in droves despite winter’s unrelenting grip to cheer on 12 high school and four college hoops teams that took to the hardwood. In honor of the cause, many of the athletes were adorned in pink shirts or accessories. For them, of course, the agenda of showing their basketball prowess and securing much-needed wins was equally pressing. The Eldred Lady Yellowjackets (10-3) kicked off the tournament on February 7 with a dominating 62-13 victory over Roscoe (0-13). Jenna Burns and Jordan Lepes each posted 13 points, while Destiny Arnold added 10. This past week Eldred defeated Fallsburg 50-30. That victory over the 12th-ranked Class B team in the state added to wins over Class C unbeaten Chester and Tri-Valley. Sullivan West (7-5) played against powerful Class A Port Jervis without the services of Bulldog standout senior Ronj Padu, who was still nursing a sore ankle from a win over Livingston Manor. Port’s Arty Gray scored a career-high 26 points in the 70-41 win. Port Jervis improved to 11-4. Jiron Kevii led the Dawgs with 12 points. After Liberty’s junior varsity come-from-behind win over Monticello, the crowd was stoked for the varsity clash between the two schools that have enjoyed a rich rivalry over the years. Monticello (11-3) won its seventh consecutive game as the Panthers downed Liberty 56-38. Dante Smalls led the way with 20 points. Devin Williams posted 16 and Sha-Shawn Drayton netted 10, including a couple of crowd-pleasing dunks. Liberty’s Stephen Johnson led the Indians with 14 points. Morris Schrader had 10. Liberty sits atop of Division IV and will be heading back to sectionals for the first time in several years.

On February 8, The Tri-Valley Bears (9-6) clinched a playoff berth with a 90-41 non-league thumping of Roscoe. Zach Nilsen (18 points), Shane Rennison (16) and Justin Swarthout (13) paced the Bears. In the last high school game of the weekend, the Tri-Valley Lady Bears 6-4 (3-0 OCIAA), currently atop Division V tied with Chester, downed Sullivan West 4-9 (0-5 OCIAA) 31-12. Sandra Alemany led T-V with nine points, while Carly Grishaber paced Sullivan West with six. Earlier this week the Lady Bulldogs nearly pulled off an upset over Chester. They led by one with 3:48 to go but got outscored, mostly at the free throw line before losing 49-36.