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Panthers beat Bulldogs in non-league battle

Joseph McDoal
Posted 2/6/24

LAKE HUNTINGTON — This past Friday night, the Sullivan West Bulldogs hosted the Monticello Panthers for an exciting boys’ basketball game. The Bulldogs went into this game with a record …

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Panthers beat Bulldogs in non-league battle


LAKE HUNTINGTON — This past Friday night, the Sullivan West Bulldogs hosted the Monticello Panthers for an exciting boys’ basketball game. The Bulldogs went into this game with a record of 4-9 (2-5) while the Panthers entered with a record of 8-6 (5-3). 

With Monticello being an AA school and Sullivan West being a B school, Monticello was certainly favored to win. The game was fast-paced and had many high-level plays and it seemed evenly matched at first. But by halftime it was clear Monticello would be taking home the win. The Panthers ended the game 76-45 and secured another victory on the road. 

The first quarter seemed like an even matchup to start. Both teams were showing excellent passing, coordination, and athleticism. SW seemed to be playing as a more cohesive team with inside passing, movement around the court, and setting up plays.

Meanwhile, Monticello played more like individuals, but those individuals each had incredible talent that proved too much for SW. In the final minutes of the quarter the Panthers went on a 7-point run and finished the quarter 19-12 over the Bulldogs. 

To start the second quarter Monticello came out with a tight man to man defense in response to Sullivan West’s shooters and kept them locked down the entire quarter. Their defense was able to force multiple turnovers and when combined with their ability to get offensive rebounds, they were unstoppable. The Panthers were able to hold Sullivan West to just 6 points in this quarter while they almost doubled their own score to end the quarter 38-18. 

By the third quarter it seemed all but over, but Sullivan West didn’t give up and continued to fight hard. The Bulldogs were able to start breaking through the Monticello defense with a combined effort from Austin Nystrom and Matt Dubois, utilizing excellent coordination and teamwork with passing and ball movement. But it was too little too late, and Monticello end the quarter 57-31 over Sullivan West. 

The fourth quarter went much the same way as previous quarters, with Monticello scoring at will and dominating the court. Sullivan West continued to play admirably though, and even started to crawl back a bit in the beginning with back-to-back 3s by Evan Ebert, who was the Bulldogs' highest scorer of the night with 16 points. Unfortunately for Sullivan West, Monticello just had too much momentum, and the game ended with a 76-45 win for Monticello. 

Monticello’s head coach, Chris Russo, had this to say after their win. “It was a great game for us and from start to finish we played hard, and we played together. I’m glad we were able to get a decent amount of playing time for all our players because we have some big games next week that we will need to be prepared for. We have two league games, and we are only one league win and one regular win away from getting a sectionals spot so that’s where our focus is now.” 

“Monticello is a tough team and they played incredible defense with multiple forced turnovers,” said Ronj Padu, the Sullivan West head coach. “We played well in the first half but not as much in the second. We have a lot to improve on with handling pressure from a good team and not giving up driving angles. There’s also definitely some room for improvement with our rebounding and specifically with boxing out. I’m hoping we finish this season strong, the first half of our season was tough, but we are getting much more cohesive as a team and I’m excited to see how that turns out for the rest of the season.”


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