It is a rarity for an undefeated Shenendehowa team to be able to claim it is flying under the radar — unless, that is, the team in question is the Plainsmen boys’ basketball squad.
With a perfect record through its first eight games and an average victory margin of 27.9 points through those contests, Shenendehowa has built up an impressive resumé. Yet, the Plainsmen have been left out of the first three sets of state rankings this season. and are often similarly left out of best-in-the-area discussions that usually center around Albany Academy, Green Tech and Scotia-Glenville.
And that’s just fine with the Plainsmen.
“You always hope to be recognized, to be ranked like that, but it doesn’t bother us too much. We know it’s hype,” said Shenendehowa senior guard Thomas Huerter at a recent practice. “We don’t need people to think we’re good for us to be able to go out and win games.”
“We’re trying not to worry too much about things like rankings,” said senior forward Brandon Fischer. “We know what we want to accomplish.”
That goal is a simple one for the squad: To win a sectional title.
The Plainsmen boys have not won a title since 1996, and the Suburban Council’s drought in the area’s largest classification goes back to 2000, but Shenendehowa head coach Tony Dzikas said he does not think either of those dry spells is what drives his team.
“Kids are funny like that; I don’t think it affects them,” he said. “They’re just in it to win it this year, and all they know is they’ve never won it.”
So far, the Plainsmen have done everything they could to put themselves in an advantageous situation for the end of the season. The team recently blasted past a pair of out-of-section opponents, Auburn and Baldwinsville, in a holiday tournament in Syracuse by a combined 91 points; star junior guard Kevin Huerter has continued to develop into one of Section II’s top players and was named the MVP of the tournament in Syracuse; and the squad’s defense has been exceptional, allowing only 38.3 points per game.
Most important, though, Thomas Huerter said, has been the degree to which the team’s depth has been a weapon, with players like junior forwards Petar Bebic and Michael Gillooley, and senior forwards Matt Alverson and Erik Kromer contributing in major ways.
“We knew coming into the season that we’d get a lot from a lot of different people, but we’ve had more of that than expected,” said Thomas Huerter. “A lot of different guys are playing their roles well and doing things beyond scoring.”
That depth has helped to make practices more competitive than normal for the Plainsmen, something that has helped the squad to stay focused on a day-to-day basis. There still are some days where the team lacks its full energy at practice, and Dzikas said it is on those days when he will bring up those state rankings or area discussions that leave Shenendehowa out of the mix.
“It’s a four-month long season and you have some long days in there,” he said. “On those days where we look like we’re not pushing ourselves the hardest, it’s nice to be able to say: ‘Hey, don’t act like you’re all that good because — obviously — there’s people out there that think you aren’t.’ ”
So, Shenendehowa will keep plugging away, first with league games at Mohonasen tonight and against Niskayuna Friday. Breaking that championship-less streak is something the Plainsmen cannot do too much about for a couple of months, but a new set of state rankings comes out each week.
“But that [being ranked] is not our goal,” said Fischer. “If it happens, it happens, but we just want to keep winning games.”
Macie Holmes hit six three-pointers on the way to a season-high 26 points Monday, leading Mekeel Christian Academy past Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, 62-21, in a non-league girls’ game.
Elizabeth Singleton added 12 points for Mekeel (6-0). Sarah DelVecchio led Bishop Gibbons with 16 points.
Jessica Patregnani scored 28 points as Lansingburgh sank nine three-pointers in a 62-43 win over Albany Academy in a Colonial Council game.
Emily Padalino of Academy had game honors with 33 points.
ALBANY ACADEMY 43
Santos 0-2-2, Nacliero 1-0-2, Padalino 11-11-33, Lanaido 1-2-4, Alonge 1-0-2. Totals: 14-15-43.
Davis 1-0-2, Roberts 3-1-8, Sutton 4-0-8, Montanez 1-0-3, Richardson 1-0-2, Patregnani 10-4-28, Horton 3-2-11. Totals: 23-7-62.
Albany Academy 9 9 15 10 — 43
Lansingburgh 16 17 17 12 — 62
Three-point goals: Roberts, Montanez, Patregnani 4, Horton 3.
MEKEEL CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 62,
NOTRE DAME-BISHOP GIBBONS 21
NOTRE DAME-BISHOP GIBBONS
DelVecchio 8-0-16, Riley 1-0-2, Brown 1-0-3. Totals: 10-0-21.
MEKEEL CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
Holmes 10-0-26, Rychick 3-1-8, Dean 3-0-6, Pigliavento 2-1-6, Bath 1-0-3, Singleton 4-2-13. Totals: 25-4-62.
Bishop Gibbons 4 6 9 2 — 21
Mekeel Christian 24 17 6 15 — 62
Three-point goals: Brown, Holmes 6, Rychick, Pigliavento, Bath, Singleton 3.
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Categories: High School Sports