LOCH SHELDRAKE - In a world often defined by upheaval and instability, there is something very comforting about tradition. For the past thirteen years, Monticello Coach Chris Russo, Deputy Executive …
LOCH SHELDRAKE - In a world often defined by upheaval and instability, there is something very comforting about tradition. For the past thirteen years, Monticello Coach Chris Russo, Deputy Executive Director of the Basketball Coaches Association of New York (BCANY), has organized the annual BCANY Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Sullivan County Community College. It’s a fun-filled basketball fest featuring high school and college hoops to raise money for the Garnett Health Center Oncology Unit.
In a year where the Covid-19 pandemic has all but obscured the scourge of cancer and its devastating impact on its victims and their families, people got a gentle reminder that the battle rages on. This year’s honoree is none other than the beloved Rick Ellison, now retired from his teaching and coaching mission at Sullivan West, but still very much involved with the many kids still in school, in sports or since graduated who revered him for what he gave to them. You can still see him in the stands at games, no matter what the sport, lending that engaging smile to those who he meets. The word warmth hardly describes his special presence. A 30-year veteran of teaching and coaching, his career spanned Jeff-Youngsville and Sullivan West years and ended with his retirement is 2020 to battle prostate cancer.
His coaching resume includes 15 years of boys basketball. He also coached baseball, football, soccer and golf at the modified, JV and varsity levels. Rick continues his recovery and is making excellent progress. He’s a warrior and this year’s recognition is so-well deserved. Rick is supported by his wife Glorianne, also a cancer survivor, and their three children Lauren (32), Christopher (28) and Luke (20).
The tournament serves to further awareness about the disease and local resources people can access for testing, diagnosis and treatment. The event raised $5,000.00, which will be donated in Rick’s honor to the GHMC Oncology Unit and the Sullivan County Ride to Survive. In all, over its 13-year tenure, the fundraiser has gifted over $55,000 dollars.
Friday's Docket of Games
Sullivan West 60, Eldred 34
The aspiring sectionals-bound Sullivan West boys took on winless Eldred for the second time this season. Fresh off two league losses this past week, 60-45 to Chester and then to rival Seward 54-52. Their prior loss to Seward was by three. Needing overall wins to reach ten and qualify for sectionals, the Bulldogs found Eldred an easy mark for the wins ledger. Seniors Tariq Gambari and Chris Campanelli plied their trade in the paint with 13 and 12 points respectively as the Dawgs improved to 8-6 with games remaining against T-V, Livingston Manor and O’Neill. They need ten wins to qualify for sectionals. Eldred was led by eighth grade AAU-playing rising star Trai Kaufman who scored 12. The Yellowjackets were seven-for-12 from the stripe, while the Dawgs were two-for-four.
Ellenville 50, Monticello 32
Monticello girls coach Ryan Jasper had accomplished near miracles taking the Monti program out of the ashes and turning it into an impressive, selfless group of players who thus far have a winning record that includes league victories over Minisink Valley and Washingtonville. In an early season encounter, they beat the Lady Blue Devils, but this time around, a first-half six-point lead vanished behind a lowly three-point Monti third while Elllenville piled up 16 in the frame to reverse the game’s polarity. The slippage continued through the fourth as Monticello seemingly blanked out on all Jasper has been teaching. They went a dismal 2-for-12 from the stripe and didn’t close on Ellenville’s rein of three pointers. So it’s back to the drawing board for the Montis who still have five league games to play. The Lady Panthers are now 8-7 and need two more wins to make the dance.
Monticello 68, Liberty 52
It was showtime, rafter reverberating basketball in the first half as the talented, quick and smooth Monticello Panthers rode roughshod over a much less equipped Liberty Indians team. Leading the charge was the deft play of senior Michael Mingo who would go on to score a game-high 22 points with his twist and turn moves to the rim. Joseph Russo had another exemplary effort contributing 12. Coach Russo got good play from his bench. But there were a couple of hitches before the eventual 16-point victory. One was a game-ending blow to the nose that sent center Dylan Hardy to the floor and then the bench with only a one-eye view of the rest of the fray. The other was an all-too-familiar loss of finesse by the Monti’s that let the Indians close the game to ten. Considering the Panthers had held a bulging lead at one point, this was dramatic as they let Tanner Bury (16 points) and Nasir Gibbs (14) do things their pre-game plan had looked to preempt. Two league games for the Montis this week including a Senior Night fray tonight with Port Jervis and then a road clash with Goshen. Liberty fell to 4-11. Monticello looks to improve its sectional spot in the Class A array as they head into this key week. They are now 10-6 with a league ledger of 6-4.
After the conclusion of the high school games on Saturday, the SUNY Sullivan Women’s and Men’s basketball teams took on Bryant & Stratton of Albany. The women went first and suffered their second loss of the season 73-69 in overtime. The Boys handily defeated the Albany school, 103-77.
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