Fred Stabbert III | Democrat
Sullivan West defender Sawyer Erlwein (12) puts a hand up to stop Port Jervis’ guard Russell Williams from getting to the basket.
A steal for Cardona, a win for Sullivan West
Story by Fred Stabbert III
LAKE HUNTINGTON January 18 The Sullivan West Bulldogs used a ferocious fourth quarter comeback and some tough defense to upend Class A Port Jervis 60-58 in a non-league game on Monday night.
With just over nine seconds left in the game and the Bulldogs clinging to a one-point advantage, Port Jervis called timeout to set up the last play of the game.
As Port point guard Arty Gray came off a screen, SW’s Matt Cardona cut between Gray and his teammate to steal the ball and seal the win for Sullivan West.
Sullivan West head coach Bruce Nober said, “We stepped up when we needed to. Matt really came through on that last play. He’s a smart player who made the right play.”
Cardona was intentionally fouled on the other end of the floor with four seconds left, sending him to the line for two free throws but more importantly giving Sullivan West possession of the ball. He made one of two free throws and, after successfully inbounding the ball, Sullivan West was able to run out the final four seconds of the game.
Cardona said, “We wanted that win. I just came over in the help defense and stole the ball. I should have put it away with a dunk.”
As SW improved to 1-2 league, 5-2 overall, it now has wins against two Class A schools.
Despite Port Jervis’ 1-8 record, Coach Nober said they have game.
“They [Port] play a tough schedule. They are battle tested because they play that tough Class A schedule,” he said. “It was still a tough fight.”
Sullivan West will travel to Goshen tonight for another Class A non-league showdown which Nober predicts will be a tough one.
Sullivan West jumped out to a 17-15 first quarter lead as sophomore Brian Stauch hit for five points and Patrick Pierce netted six of his game- high 16.
The Bulldogs clung to a 27-26 lead at the half before Port erupted for 22 third quarter points to grab the lead.
There were 30 fouls called in the hard-nosed game with Sullivan West benefitting from most of the calls. However the Bulldogs could only convert 18 of 30 free throws ultimately keeping the game close. They did nail five of seven in crunch time in the fourth quarter. Port connected on eight of 12 free throws for the game.
“I’m glad we made 19 free throws but I would have liked to see a few more go in,” Nober said. “I thought Patrick [Pierce] stepped up a little bit offensively but he still needs to be more consistent.”
Three sophomores, Brian Stauch (10), Ronj Padu (11) and Rich Shevak (5) combined for 26 points.
“They are coming along really nice,” Nober said. “Brian stepped up and started. And he scored 10 points. Rich gave us good minutes off the bench.
“And Ronj has the best instincts on the team,” he said.