Determined Shen girls never gave up

The Shenendehowa girls’ basketball team was outsized, outrebounded and struggled from the free-throw
Julia Zachgo, Paris Smith, Courtney Guiry and Victoria Pardi of Shenendehowa (left to right) give their teammates support during Saturday's Class AA state championship game against Ossining at Hudson Valley Community College.
Julia Zachgo, Paris Smith, Courtney Guiry and Victoria Pardi of Shenendehowa (left to right) give their teammates support during Saturday's Class AA state championship game against Ossining at Hudson Valley Community College.

The Shenendehowa girls’ basketball team was outsized, outrebounded and struggled from the free-throw line in its state Class AA championship game with Ossining Saturday night at Hudson Valley Community College.

With less than four minutes left, though, the Lady Plainsmen were winning.

“I told them during our shoot-around earlier today that there’s no other team I’d want to go into this game with,” Shenendehowa coach Joe Murphy said.

Murphy knew what he had and got the effort he was expecting. It was all-out, all the way, right up until Alexandra Tudor’s three-point heave in the final seconds came up just short in a 69-66 defeat.

The outcome left Ossining (26-2) with its fourth straight New York State Public High School Athletic Association title and extended the Pride’s win streak to 19 games. The Pride had won each of their previous 18 games by at least 10 points. Four times in that string they reached 100.

“They did everything I asked,” Murphy said after Shenendehowa’s first state final since 2010. “We scored 66 points and held them to 15, 16 points below their average.”

Ossining displayed its ability to pile up points with an 11-0 run in the second quarter and a 12-0 run in the third. Shenendehowa (23-3) did not wilt, closing the first half with six unanswered points to go up 42-35, and answering that third-quarter spree with a 9-5 push that had the Section II champs up 55-54 with one frame left to be contested.

The Lady Plainsmen were still up one, at 60-59, after Cameron Tooley’s 3-point basket, and the sophomore guard’s short jumper pulled them even at 62-62 with just over two minutes left.

“We didn’t want to be 0-and-2 today,” senior forward Carly Boland said, referring to a 55-51 overtime loss by the Shenendehowa boys earlier Saturday in a state semifinal game against Aquinas. “We tried our best.”

It was a performance deserving of great applause and admiration. If not pretty, it was gutsy and relentless against an Ossining team that featured the best player on the court in Seton Hall-bound Shadeen Samuels and a freshman star in the making in Audrey Griffin.

It was two foul shots by Griffin, the daughter of former NBA player Adrian Griffin, that capped a quick 6-0 spurt by the Pride and gave them a 68-62 advatage with 1:42 remaining.

“We were not intimidated,” Murphy said several times afterward.

Tudor sank two free throws and Boland hit a short jumper before Jaida Strippoli’s foul shot with 19.4 seconds left created the final margin.

“We’ll talk about this team for a long time, about how they bought into the team concept,” Murphy said.

Their grit will be talked about, too, and how they nearly pulled off what would have been among Section II’s greatest triumphs.


The Shenendehowa basketball teams were a combined 15-for-38 from the foul line in state tournament games Saturday, with the boys going 7-for-18 in their loss, and the girls going 8-for-20 against Ossining. . . .

The Shenendehowa, Troy and Hudson boys were each held to a season-low point total in their final games. Troy lost to Elmont in Sunday’s Class A title game 57-43 after thumping Williamsville South in its semifinal 78-39. Hudson lost to Olean Friday in a Class B semifinal 58-38. . . .

Aquinas became the first NYSPHSAA member to win football and basketball championships in the same school year after its 68-50 triumph over Middletown Sunday. …

The Oriskany boys set a tournament one-game record with 15 3-point baskets (on 34 attempts) in a 79-54 Class D title-game win over Moriah Saturday. . . .

Tournament all-stars included Kevin Huerter, Boland and Sydney Brown of Shenendehowa, and Daniel Buie and Jack McLaren of Troy.


Albany Academy has a rematch with Canisius Friday in the Class A semifinals of the New York Federation Tournament of Champions at the Times Union Center.

Canisius (26-2) beat Monsignor Farrell 44-41 Saturday for the Catholic High School Athletic Association title, setting up an 11 a.m. meeting with Academy (16-4), which represents the Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association. Colby Moultrie and Stafford Trueheart both sank two foul shots inside the final minute as Canisius rallied from a 41-40 deficit and set a school record for wins.

Canisius ended Scotia-Glenville’s 53-game win streak 68-63 in the 2015 Federation semifinals in overtime, and then topped Academy 48-44 for the title.

Academy and Scotia-Glenville won the Federation titles in 2013 and 2014, respectively.


Longtime Hudson Falls coach and administrator George “Chick” Chickanis was among the inductees into the Section II Wrestling Hall of Fame Sunday at the Waters Edge Lighthouse Restaurant in Glenville.

Chickanis began his coaching run with Fonda-Fultonville, and spent the last 27 years of his 32-year career with Hudson Falls. His teams won 338 dual meets and 43 invitational tournament titles, 11 Section II classification crowns, five Section II Division II championships and a pair of Foothills Council flags.

Over his career, Chickanis’ coached 35 state qualifiers, 26 Section II champions and 14 state place finishers. Of his five state finalists, 285-pounder Luke Albrecht was his lone winner in 2011, the year he stepped down.

“It was a good ride,” the 60-year-old Chickanis said.

Chickanis said his assistant coaches at Hudson Falls — Steve Scarceletta and Rob Barber — played a key role in the Tigers’ success over the years.

A graduate of Hudson Falls and Springfield College, Chickanis has served as the Section II wrestling chairman since 2008, and has been the state meet site chairman since 1991.


Jill Shippee of Shenendehowa was second in the weight throw, Ronel Forde of Shaker was third in the triple jump and Tedi DeMaria of Bethlehem was fourth in the pole vault at last weekend’s New Balance Indoor Nationals at the New Balance Track and Field Center.

Shippee went 55-11 with her longest throw, Forde cleared 49 1⁄4 and DeMaria established a Section II all-time best with her 12-8 3⁄4, which eclipsed her 12-8 from the Circus Holiday Pole Vault Classic in December.

Saratoga Springs (running as Kinetic) placed second in the 4xmile (20:22.78) with Alexandra Delnicki, Keellyn Cummings, Amelia Mahoney and Kelsey Chmiel, and was fourth in the distance medley relay (11:42.04) with Mahoney, Valentine Starnes, Cummings and Chmiel.

Colonie was eighth in the 4xmile (21:02.20) with Amanda Chambers, Marilyn O’Brien, Carolyn Pellegrini and Bellame Bower. Niskayuna was ninth in the 4×800 (9:15.34) with Erica Wasserbach, Marisa DiVietro, Lexi Sciortino and Amelia Kokernak.

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