TROY — With just under five minutes to play in the game Saturday night, Shenendehowa was in big trouble against Shaker.
The second-seeded Plainsmen were trailing 46-38, and the Blue Bison were dominating the paint behind 6-foot-9 junior center Jake Cook.
Apparently, Shenendehowa had the Blue Bison just where it wanted them, because the Plainsmen broke away with a 10-0 run and surged to a 51-46 victory in a Section II Class AA quarterfinal at Hudson Valley Community College’s McDonough Athletic Complex.
In the nightcap of the late doubleheader at HVCC, top-seeded Saratoga Springs shook off some rust and bounced LaSalle Institute 59-44.
Shenendehowa takes on Christian Brothers Academy at 6:30 p.m., and the Blue Streaks meet Colonie at 8, in Tuesday’s semifinals at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls.
Shenendehowa (17-4), took a 14-10 first-quarter advantage, but the Blue Bison, behind Cook and Devin Mahoney, eventually grabbed a 23-19 halftime advantage and a 37-36 third-quarter lead before building its cushion even higher late in the final period.
The Plainsmen tightened up on the defensive end, frustrating Cook, and the duo of TJ Sangare and Chris Hulbert combined for 13 points in the final 4:06 to lead the charge. Sangare drilled a 3, tallied a driving layup and tacked on two free throws, while Hulbert nailed a 3 and sank 1 of 2 from the line
after making a key steal. Shaker was hampered by having to foul three times in the final two minutes to send the Plainsmen to the line.
“That’s always the case, and we’ve experienced that before. It’s not over until it’s over,” Shenendehowa coach Tony Dzikas said about how his upperclassmen came up big in clutch situations. “That big.”
“I was getting a little scared, to be honest,” Hulbert said. “I knew our team would come back eventually. I was just really scared. We made some adjustments in the second half defensively.
Everyone rotated well. We trapped in the right places. But when we were down by 8 with 5 minutes left, it was scary man.”
Hulbert finished with 14 points and 5 steals. Sangare added 11 points, while James Altenburger hauled in 13
rebounds for the Plainsmen Cook had 15 points and 7 rebounds for Shaker (13-8).
Meanwhile, Saratoga Springs dominated the boards 40-28 and outscored the Cadets 29-20 in the second half to bounce back from a relatively sloppy first half.
“We tried to push the pace, and that was our plan from the beginning. I think out kids were a little too revved up, and it led to some poor decisions,” Saratoga Springs coach Matt Usher said.
“Our kids are excited to get up to Glens Falls. They’ve had a good year, but we still have some goals to achieve.”
“We didn’t shoot that well, and we didn’t play all that well,” said junior Will Fox, who scored 15 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. “But we did rebound well, and that’s always a key for us.”
Brian Hart added 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Nick Cudy chipped in with 12 points for the 19-2 Blue Steaks.
SHENENDEHOWA 51, SHAKER 46
JeanPierre 1-0-3, Mahoney 6-0-14, Seymour 2-0-4, McHugh 2-0-6, Cook 7-1-15. Totals: 20-1-46.
Nails 2-0-4, Merchant 2-0-4, Hulbert 5-1-14, Monroe 4-0-9, Sangare 4-2-11, Reinish 1-0-2, Altenburger 2-3-7. Totals: 20-6-51.
Shaker 10 13 14 9 – 46
Shenendehowa 14 5 17 15 – 51
Three-point goals: Jean-Pierre, Mahoney 2, McHugh 2, Hulbert 3, Monroe, Sangare.
SARATOGA SPRINGS 59, LASALLE 44
Evans 3-0-8, Cepiel 1-1-4, VanRoy 1-0-2, Duncan 43-11, LaForest 1-0-2, DeLollo 7-0-17. Totals: 17-4-44.
Larkin 3-2-8, Hart 7-1-15, Ni. Chudy 4-2-12, Lawton 0-4-4, Na. Chudy 1-0-2, Fox 5-3-15, Patnode 1-1-3. Totals: 21-13-59
LaSalle 15 9 8 12 – 44
Saratoga 19 11 17 12 – 59
Three-point goals: Evans 2, Cepiel, DeLollo 3, Ni. Cudy, Fox 2.