Eli Ruiz | Democrat
SUNY Sullivan’s Antoin Gattling (5) drives past a Bronx defender en route to two of his 18 points in the Generals’ dominating victory Thursday.
SCCC men, Henderson follow Early lead
Story by Eli Ruiz
LOCH SHELDRAKE February 5, 2013 - With Cleanthony Early’s and Marvin Jean's successes at Wichita State and Utah State, Marcus Henderson may just be the next Sullivan County Community College basketball player to take his impressive game to the Division 1 level.
The diminutive sophomore point guard had a dazzling first half against Bronx Community College Thursday hitting seven of seven three-point attempts, and scoring 21 points as SUNY Sullivan exploded for a 31-point halftime lead that it held the rest of the game. The 92-61 final was the 13th consecutive victory for the Generals, ranked fourth in the country.
Henderson finished with 26 points and nine assists.
"I just know one thing and that's that I have to keep working hard every single day and focus on being a leader in practice,” said Henderson. “I know if I just keep playing hard and practicing just as hard, hopefully something big is gonna happen for me next year. I'm focused."
Sullivan jumped out to a 19-0 in the frenetically-paced first half and the Broncos never knew what hit them. Just two months ago, the Bronx played SUNY Sullivan tough in a 75-68 home loss. Which prompted SCCC athletic director Chris DePew to predict before Thursday’s game that "this should be a close one; these guys are tough."
But the Generals have been rolling lately and the Bronx never had a chance in this one. The Generals’ swarming defense produced 15 steals Thursday. It was seven minutes into the first half before Bronx's Derrick Fernandez managed to hit a 3 pointer and score his team’s first points.
"I definitely didn't expect to blow them out like that,” said SUNY Sullivan head coach Kevin Devantier. “That's a top five team in the region. I thought we just did a great job taking their top two players away [Derrick Fernandez and Ronnell Ross].
"We just frustrated them all night, and we were also able to dominate them on the glass," added a confident Devantier. "I think with anybody, you get up big on them and they just tend to quit. They start to question themselves and at that point it's pretty much over.”
With 9:51 remaining in the second half and BCC down 78-39, the Broncos went on a 10-0 run their best stretch of the game to close to within 29 points, causing Devantier to call a time-out. Said Devantier of the late-game Bronco run, "It's been a common trend with us that we get up big and then our guys kind of let-up and stop doing the things that got us there which is obviously defending."
Whatever Devantier said during the 30-second timeout must have resonated with his team as freshman forward Ken Woodard came out of the short intermission and broke the Generals' drought with a short pull-up jumper to give Sullivan an 80-49 lead. The teams then traded a few missed shots, after which Henderson sank his eighth 3-pointer of the game, widening the lead to 34.
"I really just tried to make the best plays for my teammates and myself,” said Henderson. “All I wanted to do was come out with a win tonight. I wanted to make those shots for my teammates because I know I need them and they need me as well. I just try to play my hardest on each and every possession and the shots just happened to fall for me tonight."
Antoine Gating complemented Henderson with 18 points and 10 rebounds. "Honestly, I just wanted to play hard tonight and win this game just like every game,” said Gating. “I'm just looking to make my team better every day, every game."
SUNY Sullivan (20-2) went on to easily defeat Nassau Community College Saturday, their 14th consecutive win. Next up is Rockland tonight at 7 p.m. at the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.
Regarding their remaining schedule, Devantier said, "The plan is to run these last games off. We want to enter the playoffs at 28-2." Asked if he had his sights set on a national championship, Devantier added, "Absolutely. This team's got it."