SUNY-Sullivan Basketball Round-Up

By Eli Ruiz

It was all about the sopho­mores on February 23 at SUNY-Sullivan’s Paul Ger­ry Fieldhouse – a/k/a “The Pit” – as both the women’s and men’s basketball teams celebrated the talent, and the many contributions, of the respective squads’ departing athletes to the storied NJ­CAA basketball program’s legacy. And the games weren’t bad either.

SUNY-Sullivan Athletic Director Chris DePew called it the saddest day of the year, as the school bid farewell to a contingent of players—both men and women—which has shined on and off the court.

“We are so proud of their accomplishments both in the classroom and on the court, and I feel good knowing that my amazing coaching staff has laid a solid foundation for them to be successful in the future and whatever they choose to do,” Mr. De­Pew said. We will certainly miss them, and will always remember the time, effort, and dedication they put in to their respective teams.”

Following the “Sopho­more Day” mid-court cer­emony, presided over by Generals’ announcer, the Honorable Mike McGuire, the Lady Generals took to the floor to face off against the Caimans of Hostos Com­munity College for the finale to the 2016-2017 regular season.

The SUNY Sullivan Lady Generals suffered a rare defeat at the hands of Hostos on Sophomore Night at the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.

With the Region XV tour­nament looming, Coach Danny Lang’s Sullivan squad came into the game ranked as the #5 NJCAA women’s program in the na­tion. A near lock for a post­season number one seed, a sloppy first half, coupled with a disaster of a 3rd quar­ter by the Lady Generals (22-5), conspired to relegate the team to the Region XV tour­nament’s 2-seed, and with a fourth loss in its last five contests – an 85-80 double overtime thriller, Lang has to be asking himself what’s the problem, right?


“There is no problem,” Mr. Lang said confidently after the game, adding, “We have dealt with some inju­ries to key players, we had a tough schedule, as we played a Division 2 and Division 1 school back to back while we were shorthanded, too.

“If we grab a rebound or two, and make a couple more free throws, we would have put ourselves in a better po­sition to win. We ended the regular season 22-5 despite everything, which I’m sure there are a ton of programs who wouldn’t mind having our record. We will be fine.”

Similarly, if you thought Mr. Lang was wallowing in disappointment about the Lady Generals’ Region tour­nament seeding, you’d be wrong again.

“Everyone would love to be the #1 seed,” he said. “But at the end of the day, when you start the playoffs, everyone’s record is 0-0. The semifinals and finals are held at a neutral site. It comes down to execution, being poised, and doing all of the little things that will help your team win, we’re gonna be just fine.”

Not one for excuses, Lang reflected on his team’s lack­luster performance through most of its final regular sea­son matchup, explaining that “sometimes the kids get caught up in the moment of a big game with a crazy at­mosphere… it tends to take us out of our element and performing how we usually would. I feel players on both teams had that date circled for quite some time, and it resulted in everyone trying to do a little too much, too fast at the onset.

“We also have some play­ers who haven’t played in that type of atmosphere be­fore,” he said. “The impor­tance of such a significant game… along with the tour­nament looming, it can real­ly overwhelm some younger players.”

The evening, though, belonged to the departing sophomores, and Mr. Lang has high hopes for each of them.

“I will miss them all,” he said. “Every last one of these young ladies means so much to me in their own way, and what they have done for the team, it just goes without saying.

“Kyla Given, who is an All-American, is obviously a tremendous player, but also a great teammate, leader, and young lady. She repre­sents everything you want in a student athlete for your program. Ashley McDonald has done more than she has been asked to do, time and time again, giving every­thing she has every second she is on the floor, and is an extension of me on the court, which you want in your point-guard, while guarding the other teams’ best player. Amal Mahmoud is another kid who leaves it all out on the floor, for being under­sized and underrated, she goes above and beyond to help us be successful. Jenni­fer Bronson and Shadae Jor­dan are 2 kids who so many players can learn from, they always come prepared to work, never give up, and ready when their number is called. Both have stepped up and played major minutes as changes have been made to our team (Shadae start­ing). I will miss them all because of they are unique in their own way and have all impacted our program for the better.”

Clearly a “players coach,” Mr. Lang now must navi­gate his team, a team that has been struggling of late, through the Region XV tour­nament, and beyond.

Following the disap­poiunting Lady Generals’ loss, Coach Brent Wilson’s men’s team took to the court against Hostos. Ranked #10 among Division III schools nationally and #2 in Region XV behind Nassau Commu­nity College, the Generals got 21 points and 12 assists from Romero Collier and 19 points and 12 rebounds from Scott Artis enroute to an 88-71 victory.

The game wasn’t as close as the score might indicate, as the Generals enjoyed a 51-24 halftime lead, and Mr. Wilson pulled his start­ers with 10 minutes left.

Mr. Collier and Mr. Artis were both playing their final games at Sullivan, as were teammates Nysir Williams, Michael Robinson and Na­sheed Dixon. The group, re­sponsible for more than 45 victories over the two sea­sons they played, took part in the ceremony prior to the games.

The Generals will start the Region XV tournament as the #2 seed.

Honored for Sophomore Night before the contest were the following:

#24: Amal Mahmoud, Guard
#10: Ashley McDonald, Guard
# 3: Kyla Givens, Guard/Forward
#4: Shadae Jordan, Guard
#1: Jennifer Bronson, Guard
#3: Jordan Riullano, Guard
#4: Romero Collier, Guard
#5: Nasheed Dixon, Forward
#14: Nysir Williams, Guard/Forward
#42: Scott Artis, Forward