Plainsmen clamp down on defense, halt Streaks

Coaches preach defense until they are blue in the face. Sometimes, their requests fall on deaf ears,

Coaches preach defense until they are blue in the face. Sometimes, their requests fall on deaf ears, but not Tuesday night at Shenendehowa.

The Plainsmen held the Blue Streaks to five points in the final quarter and rallied from 11 down for a 53-51 Suburban Council victory at jam-packed Shenendehowa High School.

The win avenged the Plainsmen’s only SC loss on Dec. 16.

Following a Jordan Stevens three-point play with 6:24 left, the Plainsmen faced a 49-38 deficit. That’s when the Shen defense tightened up with a box-and-one on Stevens, a 6-foot-5, high-scoring senior who is headed for Holy Cross.

Shenendehowa outscored the Blue Streaks, 12-2, over the next five minutes. Doug Milvaney capped the spurt by scoring on a fast-break lay­up to cut the Shenendehowa def­icit to 51-50, with 55 seconds remaining.

With 30 seconds to go, Matt Miner stole an inbounds pass from Alex King, and it led to the game-winning three-pointer by Matt Lee with 27 seconds remaining.

The Streaks had several opportunities to bounce back, but they couldn’t score. With a foul to give before the bonus, Milvaney fouled Stevens with 16 seconds left. Stevens then drove the lane, but was rejected with 13 seconds on the clock.

Dan Lee was fouled by Stevens, but missed the front end of a one-and-one with 11 seconds to go. King scooped up the rebound for the Blue Streaks, who called a timeout with seven seconds showing. Stevens missed a jumper, but the Streaks got possession back after a jump ball with two ticks on the clock. Liam Stegman inbounded the ball to King, whose shot barely got to the rim as time expired.

The Shenendehowa faithful, many dressed in new green T-shirts they purchased for $1 in a booster club promotion before the game, rushed the court when the game was over.

“I was feeling it tonight,” said Lee of his game-winning shot. “I felt confident. When I shot it, I just let it go.”

The 6-4 senior forward said that defense was the key for the Plainsmen.

“We really worked hard on defense in the second half. This is just an amazing feeling,” he said.

Shenendehowa coach Tony Dzikas never felt confident about winning this rematch.

“We went to a box-and-one on Jordan at the end, and I think it slowed them down a little,” Dzikas said. “That three that Matt Lee shot was a gutsy shot. He shot it in rhythm, and he just let it go.

“We didn’t play very good defense in the first half, and I was disappointed with that. Jordan Stevens will get penetration a lot, and when he does, we have to do a better job of rotation. We did a better job of rotating the defense in the second half.

“This feels fantastic,” Dzikas continued. “We wanted to come back and beat them in the worst way. That team matches up well with us, and they’ve also got Jordan Stevens. I thought it was a great game. Sar­atoga came ready to play. His team looks a lot better than they did when they beat us the first time. They’ve got a lot more support for Jordan Stevens now.”

Saratoga dominated the first quarter, taking a 13-8 lead with balanced scoring.

Shen clawed back in the second period behind Dan Lee’s seven points, but the Streaks scored the final two baskets of the half to grab a 29-24 advantage.

Stevens poured in nine points in the third quarter to carry the Blue Streaks to a 46-36 edge heading into the final period.

The balanced Plainsmen were led by Manny Hernandez with 13 points. Matt Miner and Doug Milvaney added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Ryan Murphy contributed nine rebounds.

Stevens, who averages 20.7 points per game, finished with 19 points. James Tucker chipped in with 10 points.

The Plainsmen are 11-1 in the Suburban Council and 15-1 overall. The Blue Streaks dropped to 7-5 and 10-6.


Doherty 1-2-4, VanEarden 1-0-2, Stegman 1-1-3, Arpey 3-0-7, Stevens 8-2-19, Tucker 5-0-10, King 2-2-6. Totals: 21-7-51.


Milvaney 4-2-10, Miner 4-1-11, Hernandez 6-0-13, M. Lee 3-0-8, D. Lee 3-0-7, Murphy 2-0-4. Totals: 22-3-53.

Saratoga 13 16 17  5 — 51

Shenendehowa  8 16 12 17 — 53

Three-point goals: Miner 2, Hernandez, M. Lee 2, D. Lee, Arpey, Stevens.

Categories: High School Sports

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