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A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains - Fanwood Thursday, March 11, 1999 Page 13

CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK

THE WEEK IN SPORTS

DONNIE DEFILIPPIS (142), CRAIG FROST (137) 4-PEAT; BRETT VANDERVEER (121) WINS THIRD TITLE

Onur Tezucar, Tony Melendez and Jim Feeley Capture New Jersey Interscholastic Region 3 Wrestling Crowns By DAVID B. CORBIN

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

Onur Tezucar of Westfield captured his second regional wrestling title while Tony Melendez and Jim Feeley of Scotch Plains-Fanwood earned their first regional crowns at the Region 3 championships in Union on March 6. Donnie DeFilippis of New Providence and Craig Frost of Roselle Park both grabbed their fourth region title and Brett Vanderveer of Governor Livingston seized his third.

Tezucar, top-seeded at 154 and representing District 11, pushed his way through to the finals with a 134 win over Dan Nichols of Hanover Park in the quarterfinals and a fall in 1:39 over Mike Conway of Morristown in the semifinals. Todd DeWitt of A. L. Johnson in Clark, also a District 11 representative, was the only barrier that stood in the way of Tezucar winning his second title.

After winning his quarterfinal bout with Nichols, Tezucar, always seeking perfection, said, “I thought that I wrestled a sloppy match. He really didn’t do much. I guess he had a scouting report on me. I did my normal high-crotch takedowns but he basically didn’t do much on bottom

and that made me look bad. I did turn him a few times with a wrist and a half nelson.”

In the finals Tezucar earned a takedown by scooting around DeWitt then added cradle nearfall to take a 50, first period lead. Tezucar hit a nice switch reversal and DeWitt also responded with a reversal in the second. Tezucar added a two-point tilt in the third while yielding just a reversal to DeWitt to pick up a 9-4 decision.

“I felt that I had a mediocre performance,” said Tezucar of his bout

with DeWitt. After considering that DeWitt is quite a talented and smart wrestler, Tezucar added, “However, it is good to know that I could wrestle that way and still perform at a high level. It gives me incentive and momentum going into the Super-Regions and it is a stepping stone to higher and greater things.”

“It’s always the hardest to beat someone for the second or third time,” said Blue Devil Head Coach Glen Kurz of Tezucar’s bout with DeWitt. “They have seen each other for a couple of years. Neither one would do anything that would really surprise one another now. But, at this point, a win is a win. If you can score nine points on someone who knows what you are going to do, that is a good win.”

Kurz did add, “If he is upset about his win, this is not the place where he should be doing his best wrestling anyhow. Next week we are going to turn it up.”

In his quarterfinal bout at 132, Melendez, the top-seed, had a carbon-copy of a bout that he had earlier in the state sectionals with Pat Hu of

Parsippany. This time Melendez won 8-4. Melendez, then crushed Rob Verhoeven of Cranford with a 15-0 technical fall in 3:19 to advance to the finals.

“I went out there aggressively. I felt that I had to wrestle that way because I needed to be more aggressive later on today,” explained Melendez. “That was just a warm up match for the finals.”

The title bout was a thriller. Melendez and second-seeded Brandon Kaufman of Delbarton matched

NIKKI MCCOY LEADS RAIDERS WITH 299 POINTS

Lady Raiders Finish Hoops Season With a 9 of 11 Tear By DAVID B. CORBIN

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School girls basketball team, after a relatively mediocre start, completed their season with a very impressive nine of 11 winning streak and finished with a 12-10 record. The Raiders exercised an extremely effective defensive strategy during that run. Offensively, senior Nikki McCoy pumped in a team-leading 299 points.

“I knew that we had some good returning players and I knew that we would have a good team,” said Raider Head Coach Brian Homm. “We started with a couple of tough losses against some tough teams. We had to

play Bayonne and Shabazz who were ranked in the top ten in the state.”

The Raiders demonstrated the effectiveness of their tenacious defense against Cranford in the finals of the holiday tournament, winning convincingly, 37-14, for the title.

“We bounced back and won the Holiday tournament,” said Homm. “But then, we had to play Shabazz a second time, Union twice, then Elizabeth. So we got off to a slow start.”

Homm added, “Then we lost a couple of games that we should not have. Probably because we lost some confidence. Then Nikki was hurt against Kearny.”

Later realizing his team speed, Homm went with his three-guard

defense of Nikki McCoy, Jeannie McCoy and Najwa Glover. From that point, the Raiders increased their steals and converted them to scores. This allowed the Raiders to control the tempo of the majority of their remaining games. During that run, the Raiders drudged Linden, 48-31, Westfield, 47-28, and Rahway, 5318.

“We went on a tear and won nine of 11 games and won them big. We were beating teams by 20 points. We beat Westfield by 20. It showed that we really were a good team.”

The Raiders then were quite impressive in the Union County Tournament and opened the oppositions’ eyes. After defeating Rahway, the Raiders dropped fifth-seeded and defending champion Union Catholic, 40-24, then took fourth-seeded Governor Livingston to the edge, losing 52-49.

“We made a nice run in the counties. We beat Rahway in the first round, then we upset a strong Union Catholic,” commented Homm. “Then we went on and played Governor Livingston tough. We had a chance to win that game. We missed a couple of shots at the foul line. Since we did not qualify for the playoffs, after beating Somerville, that was pretty much our season. It was a great last four weeks of the season.”

Nikki McCoy was a complete basketball player. She sank all 17 of the Raiders’ three-pointers, was second on the teams in assists with 45 and lead with a 76 percent average in free throws, hitting 44-58. McCoy also led in steals with 75 and pulled down 54 offensive and 52 defensive rebounds for a 106 total.

Junior center Katie Feighner was

By DAVID B. CORBIN

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

Competing in the Watchung Conference has been pretty rugged this season for the Westfield High School boys basketball team. Facing such powers as ninth-ranked Newark East Side, tenth-ranked Union and powerful Linden, the Blue Devils finished with a 3-18 record.

“One of the biggest things that hurt us this season was consistency,” said Blue Devil Head Coach Kevin Everly. “We had a lot of kids who were sick, kids who were out three or four days in a row and that hurt our team continuity and personal endurance.”

Toward the end of the season, the Blue Devils became more competitive. After giving the Cardinals of

Plainfield a tough game on February 6, the Blue Devils rebounded to defeat the Kardinals of Kearny, 59-56, on February 9. Afterwards, the Blue Devils dropped three-straight threepoint or less games in a row, losing to Cranford, 70-67, Scotch PlainsFanwood, 47-44, and Jonathan Dayton, 47-45.

Offensively, the Blue Devils relied on the shooting skills of seniors Maurice Boatwright, Pete Anzelone and Tom Langton. In most cases the ball was passed inside to the 6’9” Langton, who then fed either Boatwright or Anzelone. On some occasions, Langton would battle underneath and go for the layup.

Boatwright led the Blue Devils in nearly every offensive statistic. He netted 329 points for an 18.3 average

per game and had the Devil’s highest season game at 37. Boatwright also hit 34 of his free throws for a teamleading 83 percent. He was also the most dangerous Devil from beyond the three-point arc, hitting 25.

Anzelone realized his shooting abilities after the first several games of the season and came on strong to average 12.5 points per game. Anzelone also hit for 51 percent of his free throws.

“I had a talk earlier in the season about him stepping up,” said Everly. “All of the sudden, he went out and scored 25 points, 24 points, 18 points, then unfortunately got hurt.”

The big man inside, Langton, averaged 10.5 points per game and led the Blue Devils in free throw atstrategies. The bout was tied, 5-5, as

the buzzer to end the third period blared, but the real excitement was yet to come.

In the first overtime, Kaufman shot under Melendez, grabbing his legs. Melendez quickly responded with a switch, Kaufman reswitched, Melendez followed suit and so did Kaufman. The crowd roared, whistled and clapped. When the action ceased, neither wrestler was able to gain control. The buzzer blared again.

The championship was to be decided by a sudden-death :30 period in which one wrestler would take the top position and the other would take down. Kaufman won the coin toss and chose down. If Melendez could prevent Kaufman from escaping, he would win. He did!

“It reminded me of my match with Cordova,” said Melendez of his bout with Kaufman. “When we went to overtime, I said to myself that I had been here before and Cordova was way better than him. I hung in with him and pulled it out.”

Melendez added, “I lost all feeling in my arms. I was numb. I tried to concentrate on my stance and he kept coming up on me.”

Feeley was seeded second at heavyweight and began his drive to the title with an 11-7 decision over Greg Bartholomew of Irvington. Next he had a battle with rugged, third-seeded Roger Attieh of Bayley-Ellard and came out on top, 3-2, to advance to the title bout.

Top-seeded and very talented Mike Munoz of Roselle Park who had defeated Feeley, 6-4, in overtime for the title in the Union County Tourna

ment boasted a 26-0 record and desired to remain undefeated. Munoz also had defeated Feeley on three previous occasions in the past few

years. But, as many wrestlers know, when facing a talented wrestler time and time again, the road to victory keeps getting tougher and tougher.

In the title bout, Feeley and Munoz each took intelligent shots, but neither scored in the first period. After Munoz received his second warning for backing off, Feeley was awarded a penalty point early in the second period. Seconds later Feeley escaped and carried a 2-0 lead into the third. Munoz escaped but Feeley nailed a double-leg takedown then added a two-point nearfall to claim a 6-1 victory and the heavyweight crown.

“I got him. I knew that I was going to do it,” responded Feeley. “I thought that I should have had a takedown earlier but I got it done. I can’t complain about that.”

Feeley used a much different strategy this time against Munoz than he had in the Union County Tournament. “I did not take any stupid shots this time, only shots that were going to work. He got me in the counties, but this one was the real one. I’m so happy!”

An elated Raider Head Coach Mike Artigliere reflected on Melendez’s and Feeley’s victories. “These guys have done a great job all year long. They have been working hard and

CONTINUED ON PAGE 16 CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

deserve it. I knew that they could do it and I am happy that they achieved their goals. I’m proud of both of them!”

Feeley’s approach with Munoz was a bit different this time was a little different than it had been in the county finals. Artigliere explained, “After he wrestled him in the counties, I knew that he could beat him. He came out and corrected some mistakes that he make in the county match. We went through some corrections in practice. He followed along and stuck to the plan. It all worked out for him.”

DeFilippis, top-seeded at 142, usually prefers to get in a workout, demonstrate his vast barrage of talent and win by technical fall; however, he changed his strategy somewhat in this tournament. First, DeFilippis put Andy Inelli of Delbarton to sleep with a cradle in 2:44, then after rapidly seizing a 2:30, technical fall over Pat Mania of Parsippany, he

disposed of Rick Hey of Parsippany Hills in 3:03 with a guillotine to claim his fourth Region 3 title.

DeFilippis explained his strategy change. “They come out there and try not to get pinned or teched, (techni

cal fall). They basically wrestle defensively, so I just have to go out there and end it.”

Frost at 137 finished Ken Johnsen of Parsippany in 4:41, then won by a 16-0, technical fall in 3:52 over Shawn Stueber of Rahway in the semifinals. In the finals, Frost continued to display his rare talent by scoring a cradle-takedown on Anthony Politi of Hanover Park in the first period. In the second, he added a three-point nearfall, then added a reversal in the third to win, 7-0. Later, Frost was selected as the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

Highlander Vanderveer began his trek to the finals at 121 with an 11-1 majority decision over Lance Russo of Seton Hall Prep. Vanderveer combined two takedowns and three nearfalls to claim the victory. In the semifinals, Vanderveer added a 15-4 majority decision over Anthony Curcio of Parsippany, scoring four takedowns, an escape and two nearfalls.

Vanderveer and Rory Adams of Roselle Park faced off in center circle in the title bout. The two had previously met in the county finals on February 13 with Vanderveer win

CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

BOATWRIGHT NETS 329 POINTS, HITS 25 3-POINTERS

Blue Devil Boy Cagers Show Marked Improvement

David B. Corbin for The Westfield Leader and The Times

TALKING OVER TEAM STRATEGY…Blue Devil boys basketball Head Coach Kevin Everly takes time out to revise team strategy during a game with Scotch Plains-Fanwood in Westfield.

David B. Corbin for The Westfield Leader and The Times

TURNING THE TABLES…Heavyweight Mike Munoz of Roselle Park grabs Raider Jim Feeley’s leg, but later becomes a victim of a takedown. Feeley avenged an earlier loss and defeated Munoz, 6-1, to win the Region 3 heavyweight title.

David B. Corbin for The Westfield Leader and The Times

ENTWINED ONCE AGAIN…Blue Devil Onur Tezucar, top, and Todd DeWitt of A. L. Johnson of Clark did battle once again in the Region 3 finals at 154. Tezucar won, 9-4.

David B. Corbin for The Westfield Leader and The Times

PART OF A REAL THRILLER…Raider Tony Melendez, top, and Brandon Kaufman of Delbarton put on a spectacular show for the fans in the 132-lb. Region 3 finals. Melendez won in double overtime.

David B. Corbin for The Westfield Leader and The Times

UNDER HEAVY GUARD…Raider senior Krista Hicks is being heavily guarded by Blue Devil defenders. Raider junior Katie Feighner, No. 40, holds her hands up in hopes of having Hicks pass to her.

Wrestling First Round on Page 15 * Feeley Wins in Super-Regions * See Story in 3-18 Edition

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Copyright 1999 - The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood