Alert pass lifts Shenendehowa over Saratoga Springs at the buzzer

Doug Milvaney breaks loose in the closing seconds, and D.J. Evans finds him with a pass as Shenendeh
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Doug Milvaney gave one up, and then got one back.

The Shenendehowa junior beat the buzzer with a driving layup as the Plainsmen edged rival Saratoga Springs, 60-58, and gained a share of the Suburban Council Blue Division championship Tuesday night.

Mike McCarthy nailed his sixth three-point basket with 5.8 seconds left before Milvaney, on an alert midcourt pass from D.J. Evans, provided the deciding basket in a superb contest that included nine ties and 12 lead changes.

“I was on him [McCarthy] when he hit that three. That was a tough, tough shot,” said Milvaney, who finished with six points, four rebounds and a pair of assists. “When they hit that shot, I just ran the other way, and D.J. made a great pass. He saw me streaking down the court.

“I was excited when I got the ball. I was thinking, ‘We’re going to win this game.’ ”

Milvaney’s layup gave the Plainsmen their second win over Saratoga Springs (3-11, 6-14), and enabled the Plainsmen (10-4, 12-8) to match Colonie’s record atop the Blue Division standings. Kaelin Loose had 16 points and six rebounds for Shenendehowa, Tom Kukuk totaled 11 points, and Matt Miner added eight.

“We went into a little slide mid-season, but we’ve been playing pretty well lately,” said Milvaney. “It feels really good to win this one and be co-champs.”

Saratoga stayed in the game and gave itself a chance at an upset behind a combined 43 points from McCarthy and Jordan Stevens, some fine hustle plays by Don Allen and reserve Brian Doherty and several effective zone defenses.

“Considering we don’t play a lot of zone, our kids did a super job with it,” said Blue Streaks coach Mitch Snyder, whose team led after the first and third quarters, and was tied at the break. “They executed the game plan.”

But not at the very end. After McCarthy’s fifth three-pointer of the second half tied it at 58, Milvaney was left open when he scored. The junior forward received the ball near the foul line and delivered uncontested.

“I was screaming, ‘Get back. Get back,’ ” Snyder said.

“That’s high school kids,” said Shenendehowa coach Tony Dzikas. “Saratoga was in celebration mode, doing the fist pump. D.J. got the ball and did a great job, and Doug did a great job filling the lane.

“In that situation, whenever there’s five to seven seconds left, we want to get out and go,” he added. “In that situation, there’s enough time to score. We hit a shot at the end of the third in that kind of sit­uation.”

But it wasn’t until the fourth that Shenendehowa put together its only sustained run against Sar­atoga’s defense.

Loose scored twice down low, Kukuk converted a three-point play and Evans followed with a layup as Shenendehowa turned a 52-48 deficit into a 57-52 lead with 1:33 left. McCarthy answered with a three-point basket at the 1:01 mark, and after Evans hit one of two from the line, McCarthy knocked down his career-best sixth long-distance bomb from the top of the circle.

“He played a good game,” Dzikas said of McCarthy, a senior guard who netted 17 of his 20 points in the second half. “I told the kids he’s capable of a big game. He dropped 29 on Columbia. He was on our

radar, and he played to our scouting report.”

Stevens topped the Blue Streaks with 23 points while also collecting five assists, three steals and two blocked shots. It was the 2007 Suburban Council Player of the Year’s fourth game back since missing seven with an injury to his left (shooting) hand. James Rucker added nine points and nine rebounds.

Stevens converted a three-point play and sank a jumper early in the fourth to help stake the Blue Streaks to their 52-48 lead.

Loose generated 12 of his 16 points in the second half, and fellow senior Kukuk scored nine of his 11 over the final two quarters.

SHENENDEHOWA

Milvaney 3-0-6, Evans 2-1-6, Kukuk 4-1-11, Miner 3-1-8, Lee 3-0-6, Loose 6-4-16, Wilkins 1-0-2, Murphy 1-3-5. Totals: 23-10-60.

SARATOGA

Allen 2-0-4, Tully 1-0-2, McCarthy 6-2-20, Stevens 8-7-23, Tucker 4-1-9. Totals: 21-10-58.

Shenendehowa 12 13 19 16 — 60

Saratoga 13 12 20 13 — 58

Three-point goals: Evans, Kukuk 2, Miner, McCarthy 6.

Categories: Sports

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