FIFTY YEARS AGO…
Sullivan Basketball Had a Rough Month
by John Conway
The month of January, 1972—50 years ago—was not kind to the men’s basketball team at Sullivan County Community College. The Generals had started the season with high hopes thanks to the presence of high scoring forward Ron Sprung and talented newcomers such as former Fallsburg High standout Willie Baker, but they never could seem to put together a full game of solid play.
A home game against arch-rival Orange County Community College in the Liberty High School gymnasium on January 6 unfolded as a veritable microcosm of the Generals’ month—and its season.
With Sprung and Jim Williams leading the way in the first half by combining for 33 points, the Generals raced to a 45-43 halftime lead over the Colts, and seemed poised for an upset. Then it all began to unravel in the second half, as Orange coach Bob Lake switched his own high scoring forward, former Washingtonville star Sam Quimby, to guard Sprung. The Colt star held his counterpart scoreless for the first ten minutes of the second half, and the Colts pulled ahead to stay.
It didn’t hurt that Quimby, who had quietly scored ten points in the first half, erupted for 21 in the second, ending with a game high 31 points. Sprung, meanwhile, did not net his first second-half field goal until 10:23– by which time the Colts had raced ahead 73-62– and then didn’t score again for another two-and-a-half minutes. He ended up with ten points in the half, finishing with 26, despite never visiting the foul line during the entire game.
Orange would lead by as many as 15 points in the closing minutes, before settling for an 89-79 win. The loss dropped the Generals to 2-9 on the year.
A game against Bronx Community College on January 27 was another all-too-typical performance for coach John Webster’s 1972 Generals. Despite leading 65-62 early in the second half, Sullivan faded badly down the stretch, eventually losing the non-conference contest 107-90.
Once again, Sprung had a strong first half, scoring 21 points, but managed only ten more in the second half, finishing with 31. Williams and Larry Hill each scored 16 for the Generals.
It wasn’t as if all of Sullivan’s losses were blowouts, as by the end of the month of January they had lost four one-point contests, closing out the month with a 3-14 record on the season.