Shenendehowa hands Albany its first loss

Plainsmen excel at both ends
Shenendehowa's Simone Walker drives past Hasijna Gaddy of Albany during Friday night's game between state-ranked teams..
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Shenendehowa's Simone Walker drives past Hasijna Gaddy of Albany during Friday night's game between state-ranked teams..

CLIFTON PARK — Shenendehowa’s willingness to share the ball and its ability to score from all parts of the court was one part of the story.

The other was defense. Nothing fancy, belly to belly defense that contained Albany like no team had before.

“Play solid defense for four quarters,” Shenendehowa coach Joe Murphy said. “That was the game plan, and we accomplished that.”

Shenendehowa put together several significant scoring runs and let Albany go on only one, and by that time the Plainsmen were well on their way to a 73-51 win Friday night in a game that pitted state-ranked Suburban Council division leaders.

The loss was the first for the Falcons (9-1, 13-1), while the Plainsmen (10-1, 13-2) stretched their victory skein to 12 games.

Photos: Images from Friday night’s game

“They played good defense and shot it well,” Albany coach Decky Lawson said.

Simone Walker was the defensive anchor, going head-to-head in a successful outing against Albany scoring leader Ahniysha Jackson, while Meghan Huerter, Cat Almeida and Jess Wagoner each scored in double figures to lead a balanced offensive effort. That trio also played a big role in the rebounding department as the Plainsmen consistently kept the Falcons’ prolific attack in a one-and-done mode.

“We went 10 deep and every kid played a role,” Murphy said. “That was team basketball.”

Albany came in averaging just under 70 points and had beaten 12 teams by double digits. Earlier in the season, Albany dropped 96 points on Glens Falls which included 37 in a single quarter.

“Our team loves defense. We take a lot of pride in our defense,” said Huerter, a sophomore guard who collected 21 points and eight rebounds. “Defense is what gets us going on offense.”

Over and over Shenendehowa turned stops at one end into points at the other. Midway through the third quarter, a 9-0 spurt in which Huerter delivered the final seven points had the hosts up 52-32.

Albany followed with its best segment, going on a 9-0 run of its own, when Junasia Lanier scored six of her 13 points and Jackson had three of her 10. Those were the only second-half points for Jackson, who came in averaging close to 20.

“Simone Walker is one of the best on-ball defenders in Section II,” Murphy said of his junior point guard who had eight points and four steals. “Simone did a great job.”

Jackson was called for third foul on a push off and took a seat with 4:39 left in the second quarter, with Albany down 19-17. Shenendehowa’s lead grew to 36-27 by the intermission.

“When your leading scorer is not on the court, that’s a bonus for them,” Lawson said.

Huerter picked up her scoring in the second half, netting 15 points, with a 3-pointer and two foul shots to kick start a 9-0 run to begin the fourth quarter as Shenendehowa went up 63-43.

Huerter made only a pair of 3s after nailing seven of them in Tuesday’s 78-37 win over Guilderland, yet picked up seven points from the line on 11 attempts.

“She [Huerter] is not just a 3-point shooter,” Murphy said. “She showed that tonight. She attacked.”

She wasn’t the only one who did so with success.

“We need to work on our defense more,” Lawson said. “We can watch film of this game and get a lot out of it. Defensively, we could have played a lot better.”

Almeida scored 14 points and Wagoner had 11, and the seniors forwards took down eight and 10 rebounds, respectively. Almeida’s 11 first-half points included a short jumper and two layups after Jackson sat down.

“We’re real happy with this, but we’ve got to stay focused,” Almeida said after her team, ranked No. 10 in the state, topped the No. 9 Falcons. “We can’t let our heads get blown up.”

Photos: Images from Friday night’s game

Shenendehowa lost its season opener to Saratoga Springs (62-53) and its third game to Our Lady of Lourdes (59-50).

“We’ve just improved throughout the season, and for this game, we prepared well,” Almeida said.

Shenendehowa never trailed in the contest.

ALBANY

Citone 1-5-8, Lanier 3-7-13, Jackson 3-2-10, Bright 1-0-2, Walcott 2-0-4, Gaddy 5-1-11, Dams 1-0-3. Totals: 16-15-51.

SHENENDEHOWA

J. Huerter 2-3-7, Walker 4-0-8, Almeida 5-3-14, Carpenter 1-0-2, Wagoner 5-1-11, Milham 2-2-7, M. Huerter 6-7-21, Stuart 0-1-1, Lee 0-2-2. Totals: 25-19-73.

Albany 11 16 14 10 — 51

Shenendehowa 17 19 18 19 — 73

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

Categories: High School Sports, Schenectady County, Sports, Your Niskayuna

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